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It's a Start, but it Needed More

***( )( )

Heart of the Jungle is a solid book, I just feel it could have taken things to the next level.

PROS:
*Great details on the hazards of jungle travel, with some really nasty surprises.
*Wide variety of settlements and wilderness types (Senghor, Bloodcove and Usaro are some of my favorites)
*Awesome monsters in the back (though only 4!). Botfly's are nasty.

CONS:
*Not enough art and too many maps. Now I love maps, I'm a map junkie, but I would have given up half those maps for art of the denizens of the Expanse. The 4(or 5) Mwangi people could have really befitted from art of them next to each other. (and hell the info on they and they other races is just lacking).
*Speaking of maps, as neat as the idea of the hand drawn maps are as a GM I would rather have detail maps. Even with my limited drawing skills I could still draw "tribal" maps like the ones that take up too much space in this book.
*This book could really use stat blocks for NPCs
*They talk about shamanism and animism but with out any real mechanics behind it. At least with the Dragon Empires we have Kami stated and talking about it but in the Mwangi Expanse it almost seems like a joke, like it's people are stupid for adhering to their taboos. That is very disappointing.
*It does an adequate job of setting a mood of the Expanse but other books do it better. Serpent's Skull(in particular the "Plague of Light" shot story) and River into Darkness does a better job of this.

In closing I'd say that I would have given his book 4 stars if I had bought and reviewed it when it came out. But now, it's lacking as a book in comparison to later Pathfinder Campaign books like the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, Rule of Fear or Isle of Shackles. I wish this book would be redone in the current style, though I know that won't happen. I hope they make further books in the Mwangi Expanse so we get better representations. That said, it's still a good books if you love the Mwangi Expanse, but don't just stop with this book.


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The First and Still the Best

*****

As the first "Revisited" book, Classic Monsters established the formula that has been used ever since. This book covers all the classic fantasy monsters that have been standard for rope-playing games for decades. We see them in new lights as not just the " villains" and "monsters" of our games (as the villain rarely sees themselves as such), but a fully alive sentient beings. They have loves, desires, wants and fears. They just don't sit in a dungeon room waiting for you to show up, they have their own lives going on independent pf the players. The cultures of each are amazing, and made me interested in monsters like the lizard folk or minotaurs that I never cared for. It made me have nightmares of Bugbears outside my window and even sometime sympathize with what are arguable right bastards. Probably my single favorite part of the book is that Ogre mothers talk of the Trolls who come down the mountain to kidnap little Ogre children and eat them. The books shows that even the monsters that we fear have those they fear as well. This bit of humanity in these so called "monsters" adds even more depth to the deepest RPG in the industry today.


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Fantastic

*****

A fantastic read for one of the most interesting locations. Filled with tons of great plot hooks and a very detailed description of the city itself.


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Paizo hits another one out of the park!

*****

Another fantastic book! Here are some of my favorite things:

Five new races(well the Tengu aren't quite new but they are updated) which are all really intersting. I found the reincarnated Samsarans to be my favorite, but I expect the Kitsune to be the real fan favorites.

Of the nations/regions(27 in all), a few surprised me. A Taldor offshoot, a communist state, Elven samurai, info on Taumata and Sarusan, Shenmen(move over Ustalav I have a new favorite evil nation), Catfolk, and a Post-Apocalyptic Kraken-Ruled Swampland(you though the Sodden Lands had it bad).

14 new deities (6 reinterpreted old ones) are also included. Daikitsu, Lady of Foxes and Lao Shu Po, Old Rat Women are two of my favorite.


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Everything I could have hoped for an more!

*****

Yet another excellent book from Paizo. In it you have everything you could ever need to run a Viking (or ESV:Skyrim) themed game.

Inside cover has a close up picture, and unlike other Pathfinder setting books everything on the map is covered in the book.

Chapter 1: The Linnorm Kingdoms
Detail history of the Linnorm Kingdoms, followed by four page(Very familiar to those who have the Inner Sea World Guide) write ups of each of the regions. They are all very different despite their Norse influences. I particularly love the Fey of Grungir Forest the Varki human ethnicity the closet thing we get to a Half-Orc homeland in Averaka.

Chapter 2: The Proving Grounds
A variety of story seeds and location of interest to adventurers. The Lair of Fafnheir would make a great high level location while I love the icy fortress of Zar Kragnaral and it's beautiful Frost Giant ruler "The Deathless Jarl".

Chapter 3: Adventuring in the Linnorm Kingdoms
Four things here: Reputation, a system that is interesting. Effigies, which strike terror and curse to those who come near. Really cool, I could see a lot of Big Bads using them around their lairs, especially the Tree of Souls. Wiergild and Ransom, detailing the practice of raiding for captives and them selling them back. We finish off with a couple of magical artifacts.

Chapter 4: Linnorm Kingdoms Bestiary
I really like that they gave use NPCs like "Blackraven Scout" or "Longship Captain". Those will be really helpful to GMs. The real treat here is CR 24 Fafnheir, King of the Linnorms!


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Excelent Resourse

*****

Perfect starting point to getting you players ready for this AP.


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Great Resource on Osirion

****( )

The book includes a nice overview of the Land of Pharaohs.

The PROS:
*Great map of Osirion
*Each area or location it covers has a great plot hook that you could build a session or even a whole campaign around.
*Adds great flavor to the Pathfinder world
*I enjoyed the necromancy spells in the book
*Great details on Khemet III and his two otherworldly servants.

The CONS:
*3 new gods without domains attached to them, booo!
*Some of the areas on the map aren't covered, but honestly Osirion needs a bigger book to flesh out everything in it
*No map of Sothis :(
*With a nation this ancient you would think adding a time line would be helpful

This is a great to give out to players of Osirion characters to get feel of the nation and plenty of awesome plot hooks for the GM to make this worth 4 stars despite it's shortcomings.

Favorite Part: Alashra, a Were-Hyena Cleric of Lamashtu, who is a respectable merchant in the Shai-Nefer and leads the Gnolls in ambushing caravans(even her own as to not rouse suspicion).