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Great products, but check the audio levels, please.Paris Crenshaw (Contributor) —
I couldn't find a place on the Big Finish website to post this as a general comment for all the episodes released, so far, so I wanted to provide a little feedback, here.
These audio dramas are great. I think they actually get better with every new series, in terms of characer development, story, and presentation of the Pathfinder game in a dramatic format. My daughter and I listen to these together during the drive to her various sports and other activities. I love that we can share these stories together.
I do, however, have one complaint: there is a serious discrepancy between the volume of sound effects and voice acting. I find that I'm frequently having to adjust the volume, first raising it to hear a half-whispered conversation between two people, then rapidly turning it down because a fight broke out and we're being blasted out of the car. We sometimes miss vital plot information that is shared in "hushed tones," because the volume is just too low.
If at all possible, Big Finish, please look at balancing the audio levels.
Pathfinder Legends—Rise of the Runelords #3: The Hook Mountain MassacreBig Finish Productions
Add CD $15.99
Add Download $12.99
Another great installment from Big Finish!Paris Crenshaw (Contributor) —
Seeing as how the other issues already had reviews and high-star ratings to go with them, I've decided that episode #3 needs a review, too.
In The Hook Mountain Massacre, the Pathfinder Legends line of products continues on its path of excellence. As with all the episodes of the story, the voice acting is superb and the characterization of Ezren, Harsk, Merisiel, and Valeros is pretty much exactly as I imagined those characters. There are times when the party banter feels a bit forced, especially some of the bickering between Harsk and Valeros, but overall, I like the dynamics of the group...they feel like an adventuring party.
This particular episode was a rather daring one, given the notorious reputation of the content in the adventure path. The ogrekin of Hook Mountain are particularly nasty. Big Finish managed to include a good amount of the grossness of those creatures without turning the episode into a full-fledged horror story a la "The Hills Have Eyes", which I'm pretty sure was one of the inspirations for this part of the Runelords tale.
I think the only significant weakness of this installment, which is shared by all of the current Pathfinder Legends episodes, is that there is a bit too much reliance on the listener to already know the story being told. I have listened to them with those who haven't read the adventure path issues, and they sometimes had difficulty figuring out what was going on or why things were happening. It would be good to have a bit more explanation, either through narrative or character interaction. I realize that it's difficult to "show" and not "tell" in an audio drama, but weaving more clarity into the motivation and action would improve an already good thing.
One way to help fix that would be to increase the length of each episode, which is something I hope we'll see when Paizo and Big Finish get around to releasing the next set of Pathfinder Legends recordings. Production of an audio drama is obviously different than that of an audiobook, so cost comparison isn't necessarily reliable, but considering that you can purchase a digital copy of an unabridged book with a duration of 8 to 12 hours and read by a fairly notable actor for $25, I don't think it's too much to ask for each episode of the Pathfinder Legends to be extended to 2 hours for the $13 price.
Despite that minor issue, I definitely hope to see more recordings soon, and strongly encourage fans of Paizo and Pathfinder or even just fans of audiobooks or audio dramas to get all six installments of Pathfinder Legends: Rise of the Runelords.
Another valuable support document for BB players!Paris Crenshaw (Contributor) —
This is definitely a good reference for making the leap from one set of rules to the next, but I also found that it's a valuable document, even if you don't plan on making that transition.
Calling out the biggest differences between Beginner Box and Core rules, this PDF is very helpful for those of us who are currently using both versions of the rules and who might need a reminder about what options were removed from the Beginner Box for simplicity and ease of play.
The information about converting Core Rules modules and how to read stat blocks and spells from the Core Rules will certainly be valuable to those who want to use material from the more advanced books.
The last few pages are mainly advertisements for modules and Pathfinder Society play, but I don't consider that a bad thing. In particular, calling out modules that would be good for use with the Beginner Box is pretty helpful, and I think they made the right choices about what modules would be best suited for the BB audience.
Excellent Start to the Pathfinder Tales line!!!Paris Crenshaw (Contributor) —
Sorry for the delay on this. Read my full review of both Prince of Wolves and Master of Devils here:
Make that 4.5 stars! Three wonderful stories in one!Paris Crenshaw (Contributor) —
Read my full review of both Master of Devils and Prince of Wolves here:
Another Must-Read Pathfinder Story, Great Use of TenseParis Crenshaw (Contributor) —
In The Worldwound Gambit, Robin D. Laws offers up a classic-style fantasy adventure with the twists and modern sensibilities that we've come to expect from Paizo Publishing.
Set in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting's world of Golarion, the Worldwound is a location where the chaotic and evil realm of the Abyss has encroached on the material world. In this land, demons have free reign, but their raids on the nearby people of Mendev have been limited by the wardstones, which weave a barrier of powerful magic to keep the Abyss in check.
Now, the great demon known as Yath, the Shimmering Putrescence, has established itself on Golarion and has the power to breach the wardstone barrier. From within the Worldwound, it stages a massive army of cultists and demons, preparing for an assault that might allow the Worldwound to overtake all of Golarion.
Gad, a charming rogue, sees that outcome as seriously bad for business, and he needs a team of companions to infiltrate Yath's tower and stop the minions of the Abyss. Fortunately for him, he knows just the right people: experts who are both talented and crazy enough to pull off a heist the likes of which two worlds have never seen.
The Worldwound Gambit is the fourth novel in the Pathfinder Tales line. While maintaining the level of quality for which Paizo is famous, the book adds new flavor to Pathfinder fiction. Laws' characters are as vibrant and enjoyable as previous books and fit comfortably within the world of Golarion. The locales provide us descriptions of places mentioned within the RPG books, with the Worldwound being the most obvious example, and add even more richness and depth to the already well-developed setting. Once again, we have a tale that draws on some of the best aspects of the Pathfinder world without recklessly announcing that it is a Pathfinder story at every turn.
I should point out that this book reiterates the fact that the Pathfinder Campaign Setting is not designed for younger people. The book deals with terrible, gruesome things and presents very adult concepts right from the beginning. If I had to give it a movie rating, I'd place it well within the R-rating. The material is not gratuitous...it fits perfectly within the story and the setting, but it is not something you want to present to young readers.
As at least one other reviewer has mentioned, the story is told in third person, present tense, which I initially found very jarring. Most modern fiction is written in third person, past tense, so readers become accustomed to the flow of ideas in that format. Because of that, I found it difficult to get through the first couple of chapters.
However, I'm very glad I persevered. Once I got comfortable with that voice, I found that it was very appropriate for the story being told. Back in May, the Paizo store blog (I think Liz Courts wrote the entry) described the book as "Like Oceans 11, but with More Demons." The description is fitting and helps explain why the present tense is so helpful. As a reader, you get to follow the action as it happens, rather than read a description of what happened "some time ago."
The descriptions of the Worldwound are excellent and will be invaluable to anyone who wants to run a campaign in that part of Golarion. Additionally, the scenes inside the tower of Yath are sure to inspire a plethora of fun adventure ideas.
The story's characters are an excellent match-up, each with a strong mix of good and bad qualities—revealed with enough clarity during the journey to and through the Worldwound—that the final scenes have the juice they need to keep you guessing until the very end.
I'm pleased to say that the ending did surprise me in very good ways. I actually laughed out loud at some of the jokes and a few of the sudden reveals throughout the novel. I will, of course, share none of those details, because you really do need to read the book, yourself.
Overall, this was another win for the Pathfinder Tales line. I'm rating it 4 out of 5 stars because I can't give it 4.5 stars. It is a must-read for adult fans of fantasy fiction, whether or not you're familiar with the Pathfinder setting. Robin D. Laws has brought wonderful new characters and a wealth of descriptive talent to Pathfinder. I hope to see more Pathfinder novels from him in the future.
Excellent Product! Imminently usable.Paris Crenshaw (Contributor) —
I have to admit the initial draw for me on this was the reputation of the writers and publisher. 0one Games is putting out some good stuff. And after a quick read-through this afternoon, I'm pretty impressed with this product.
I'm about to be "between modules" in my home campaign and I was looking for something in the way of an interlude. The list of creatures got me interested and the free preview of the harvester clinched it.
Overall, this is a solid product. The writing is very good, as are the layout and editing.
The spread of challenge ratings and variety of creature types makes it easy to find something to inflict on your players, no matter what level they are. Additionally, the encounters are interesting, well-developed and seem "ready to run". With some very minor changes, like the names of certain deities, you could easily run these encounters in Golarion, too. (Which is what I plan on doing.)
If you're looking for quick encounters, complete with easy-to-read maps, that use a new creature, "Urban Creatures & Lairs" is an outstanding resource. It easily won a 4-star rating and is pretty close to a perfect, 5-star, score.
Paris Crenshaw (Contributor) —
Gorgeous Dice - Excellent Detail!!Paris Crenshaw (Contributor) —
These dice are fantastic. They have the look and feel of bone and the detail on the dice faces is excellent. In addition to the seven sin runes, other Thassilonian runes and the Sihedron rune are prominently displayed, as well.
I can't wait to take these to the table for my next game!