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Great atmosphere leads to great adventure


The village of Coldwater is a classic troubled, remote, inhospitable site perfect for adventure. I can see this being used in so many ways. The sinister undertones of unnatural activities in town, the built in political conflicts, and criminal activities all provide ample hooks for use in game. This would make for a great resupply point for a group of adventurers headed inland from this port town, or it could be the site of adventure itself with a mysterious ancient stair nearby and suspicious locals distrusting all outsiders.

This release follows the tested and true village backdrop formatting, providing a list of NPC types for the PCs to interact with, a map with key locations detailed, and rumours to spark the PCs interaction with the locals. This release also directly ties into another Raging Swan product: Deadly Delves 1: Fane of the Undying Sleeper.

As usual, the village backdrops line has hit it out of the park with this release. I loved reading it and plan on making it a part of my ongoing campaign.

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Sometimes it’s what’s right next to the thing you are looking for that counts


This book supplies you with many choices. I was looking through it the other day in preparation for an upcoming Kingmaker session and found the section on wizard’s towers to be quite useful. In this particular case, I was investigating the entries on these towers and accidentally flipped over to the section on shrines.

Once there I was linking each of the ideas presented here with ideas for the burgeoning kingdom my players are building.

It is exactly this spontaneous inspiration that a book of lists and ideas can prove to be most useful. If you want to browse for inspiration then you can. If you want some specific encounter ideas, there are plenty.

I may not use this every session, but whenever I have pulled it out it guaranteed to inspire.

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Used every session. Right On!


This is such a great addition to my game. I use it every session. My gaming group has played many a Rolemaster session, so the expansion of crits to include a variety of consequences has been a huge improvement on the Paizo Crit deck.

I have not delved into the multitude of character options presented here such as feats, archetypes and item enchantments. That said, the crit tables are worth the price of admission on their own.

I would like to see spells get a similar treatment with crit tables and fumbles in a future product.

See the other reviews for more details. If you want dozens, nay, hundreds of new outcomes for your combat encounters, you can’t do much better than this.

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Campaign Setting not just AP


I have wondered why the map folios have been marketed as Campaign Setting material as opposed to a part of the AP they reference. This map set is a clear case for this classification.

I am currently running through the RotRL and these maps have helped greatly. They give the players a great idea of their surroundings and don't really have any spoilers. I have several other folios and this stands out as the best for use detailing the world of Golarion.

You wont find any encounter maps or detailed buildings in this set. This niche has been filled by the interactive map sets available with the APs. I appreciate this as I find a good player friendly map is one of the best ways to keep everyone on the same page.

I look forward to more maps in line with the artistic representation of Varisia. This map can also be found in the Player's Companion: Varisia, Birthplace of Legends.

- A happy GM

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Interesting read


This is the beginning of a new format for the Player’s Companion line. This review is thus as much about this new layout as it is about the content found within.

Many players will find just what they look for in this text. This could be feats, archetypes, equipment, or background on culture and geography of Varisia. Many of the choices available are full of flavor and as a GM I would like to see many of these options in my game.

There is a truly beautiful example of cartography spanning the centre pages of the text giving us a useful view of Varisia. The map gives distances between locations while keeping that old ‘here be dragons’ feel with little drawings of the dangers that could be faced on the road. I really enjoy this map. In addition to this two page spread there is another great map on the back cover of the book which gives details regarding overland caravan routes in Varisia.

This is where one point of criticism arises for me. I really enjoyed seeing the art from the cover of the text in all its glory without text overlay on the back cover. It was the first thing I would flip to when I got my hands on a new player’s companion. The tiny reproduction we get in the table of contents is a poor substitute. I understand the 32 page limitation of this series, but this full page of art could be included in the PDF.

Other changes to the layout include equipment listings matching the new Equipment guide, a large table of contents, and the ‘crunch’ appears to be more clearly set apart from flavour text. These are all positive changes to me.

The last pages of the text are dedicated to campaigns that have occurred in Varisia. At first glance I thought this was just a lame advertising waste of 4 pages. This would be too harsh, as each entry for an adventure path does contain some interesting tidbits. The entry for the newest arc (the Shattered Star) is given a two page spread and includes some interesting traits.

I would recommend this book.