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Variables, Variables...


This is a somewhat strange campaign setting book, in the sense it seems not only is the various regions described in the book very different (from very regular fantasy tropes and/or very real world inspired) to the very fantastic... But how they are described also varies so much, because the authors do their pieces in very different ways.

For example, one region might have a city statblock, a lot of info on people there that can be usefull and inspiring, written in an entertaining way... While at least one other is pretty much "there are these guys guarding something but I won't tell you much about either" over three pages.

I found some of the articles in the book excellent, some average and some bad. As there is something to every taste here (except crunch, this is pretty much pure fluff), I guess that would be true for most people too.

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Shiny Details


Stolen Lands takes the Sandbox type of game, and it's very essence seeps into the book itself.

Which is a mixed blessing. The adventure itself doesn't have a great story per se, but the various encounters can end up being far more entertaining than what a tight story might have been. The Brevoy article is superb, the short story is funny in a Monty Python kind of way and the monsters are somewhat interesting. And the hexploration article works.

However, the layout is very annoying. XP/rewards are all over the place, and often hidden in big block of text in another place. The hexploration article only have "sortof" rules that feels lacking (perhaps it was cut a bit?) for being useful outside the module except for travel times. In other words, be awake when reading and keep post it notes on hand. Which feels a bit weird, since layout in these books tends to be good.

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Good adventure; ok support articles


After GMing this (pathfinderizing it first -using the Fast Track progress and upgrading all the encounters so the CR is right), I found it to be one of the more entertaining modules I've run.

The best part of it is the start; using the player's guide gives the characters lots of motivation for starting the whole thing - so it's a lot of caring in the first section. After that, the main story ends up being pretty much a typical "I do it for the gold" thing. What makes it good is all the barely mentioned NPCs, the interesting tidbits that ends up happening outside the main story and so on.

The fiction bit I forgot 5 minutes after reading it, the Harrowing section is kinda wasted space if you have the Harrow Deck, and the Varisian article is decent, but feels more like an appetizer than anything else.

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Almost perfect!


As far as setting overview books go, this is the best one yet for anywhere, in my opinion.

Most of all, the diverse amount of countries (and their own in a way crashing flavors) is bound together in a very organic way. I might not really enjoy having the Mana Wastes, Cheliax and Numeria show up in the same world - but here it works.

Art is amazing, every country section is inspiring in it's own way, it's well written and it's pretty much a must have if you play in Golarion. I've tried to find a fault with it, but I really can't...

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Good, but could use more maps


This folio has overview maps of Ustalav and some of the settlements the Carrion Crown AP takes place in... It is mostly useful if you like to give player's a sense of scale. No tactical maps of any scale is included, so no combat shortcuts.

The big map of the Ustalav itself is very good. However, I'd really like to see at least a couple of major roads marked... As it is, the whole place looks just like one big wilderness.

The other maps are also good and evocative. But I'd rather see all of the settlements in the AP get represented, instead of just a selection of them.

So all in all, it ends up being just sort of helpful.

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A mixed bag...


This map folio is essentially a reprint of most of the maps in the CotCT AP, in the same scale as they are in the books - and has the same map of Korvosa that is in the the campaign setting book.

So how useful this folio is depends on two things: Do you want to save time looking up the tactical maps in the book (or don't use flip mats or the like, and want to show the players how rooms look like without having to use the book), and/or don't have the Korvosa map from the other source? If yes to either, it might be worth a purchase.

It wasn't for me, but the Korvosa map itself is so good I didn't have the heart to rate it as a one star product.

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Maxmax is WHAT?


A campaign setting book in the "just fluff" department. It has no crunch (the only thing that comes close is a couple of statblocks and some encounter tables in the appendix), is light on art (for being a Pathfinder product) and you couldn't push more words into a 64 page product if you tried.

Introduction (Very Good+)
Except for the general introduction block of text, this chapter actually has a lot of usefull roleplay stuff most other setting books never bother with. Common phrases, how people live and other basic (and interesting!) odds and ends.

Places (Very Good)
Vividely describes districts and important places in said districts, simple enough. One of the few weaknesses of the book is the maps in this section - more contrast would've been nice. The places are not ondimensional, seems organic and logical (and not to mention, good places to have things going on).

People (Very Good)
Mostly a chapter on the important factions of people in the city, nobility, guards and so on. Slight dissapointment that there is no sidebar of what the populace tends to work with (rough percentage or something), but no biggie.

History (Good)
While the city history seeps through most of the other chapters, the important bits gets bigger blocks of texts here (there is a timeline on the inside of the cover, talk about max use out of space!), but most of it just feels like repetition of the first chapters with a few extra details collected into one place.

Secrets (Very Good+)
The primary adventure hook section. Good enough to just read, but it has ideas for all kinds of adventures, making it the most GM friendly part.

As an aside, the book is well written, fluid to read and never encountered any editing that messed things up, which makes the book even better.

Near perfect!

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A mixed curse


First off, I bought this to get pure fluff, and that is what I got. Way to go campaign setting book!

History (Poor)
Not a big fan of timelines done this way - tries to jam a lot of info into short entries, and ends up being not very interesting at all.

Counties (OK)
The actual county texts ends up being bland, over the top flavorfull and at times edited so it is both at the same time. The npcs are way better handled (often with fantastic portraits), making up for the counties.

Cities and Settlements (Very Good)
Better editing and better writing, plus good maps and fantastic sites makes me want to use nearly everything in this chapter. Karcau is possibly my favorite location in Pathfinder now...

Legends and Hauntings (Very Good)
Has tonnes of interesting things, finding the Bloodlines part the most usefull. Makes me wish there was some kind of Inner Sea Bloodlines book...

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Good, but short


Traidtional questbased plot tends to get quite stale after reading a fair amount of fantasy books, but it's nice to see even tie-in fiction picks up on modern "nihilistic" fantasy. Like the mortality rate, the backstabbings and shades of grey.

It has good pacing, the characters are interesting (except some of the baddies, who end up as fodder and seem quite shallow) and most factions seem to have an agenda and/or motivation which these books often miss.

However, I found a lot of areas and character relationships to be very shallow, and could've improved with just another 50 pages (like, the revolution place never broke concept and thus got stale and boring), but of course pacing would've suffered, which I guess is what tie-in is all about...