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Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Taldor, the First Empire (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
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I was really hyped to hear one of my favorite locales on Golarion was getting revisited. After all it had been more than 8 years since Taldor was explored and given the new 68 page format of the country sourcebooks I assumed many details could be explored.
Unfortunately this book did not impress me at all. It was lackluster and pretty bland, no wow, no pizzazz. It did not inspire any additional interest in Taldor.
The book is divided into four parts so Ill briefly talk about each of them without giving too much away.
Life in Taldor – The first section details a history of the people of Taldor and lightly touches on the nobility and titles of Taldor. I was especially disappointed in this. Nobility and titles in Taldor are a cornerstone of this nation, something that make it distinctive in character from other nations, a highlight of that nation and yet the titles section was given a half-page description of generic noble titles, many titles previously describe we not even written about or mentioned.
The history of its Imperial house was non-existent, there was no list of Grand Princes, nothing descriptive of noble houses. I mean at this point I don’t know the name of the imperial house of Taldor because it remained as skeletal in description as what is found in the Inner Sea Guide. There was just nothing.
Gone was any mention of The Bearded as the ruling social class as it was ret-conned and minimized like the banning of Sarenrae. It fails to detail any of the more than 50 Grand Duchies and their locations other than 12 that correspond with the primary prefectures that it states are in the Empire.
The history section is mainly a descriptive rehash of events that have been already covered in other books, there were very few new events detailed within. More could have been included for an empire that is six thousand years old. The description of the Taldan people was literally two paragraphs long and the other two pages spent on the topic were on Chelaxans, Andorans and other surrounding nations and races.
Gazetteer – The Gazetteer generally does a good job at describing the twelve main prefectures of Taldor and it adds some details, new cities and locales and personalities. One of my favorite parts was some details on the ruling nobles of the prefectures. The cities described were mainly just that descriptions – there were no details on population, racial make-up, no flavoring whatsoever.
Adventures in Taldor - This part is a good but brief description of some key locales within Taldor. Each locale is given a one page description, with details and major NPC descriptions which is probably enough to get a GM to build his own adventures around.
Bestiary – This part is really unnecessary and should have been relegated to the upcoming AP. The monsters are lackluster. Taldor is supposed to be an Empire that tamed its heartland so the real monsters should be the humans within. But the book doesn’t do much in that aspect.
There is no mention of the lands directly to the east of the empire. How they may have affected the empire or anything. The updated map was pretty good I did like that they included some locals from the novels and pathfinder scenarios, except that Yanmass still has two locations in previous maps - one next to the river and another away from it. Even the novel Shy Knives have it located near the river. So I am not sure if Yanmass is a port city or a city in the center of the plains.
Overall this book is a huge disappointment for a nation whose ruling class is supposed to be a distinctive feature that is supposed to add to the character of Taldor. Yet it does very little to fill that gap, it leaves Taldor feeling generic and boring.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Qadira, Jewel of the East (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
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Okay bookShivok —
The book has some nice fluff to it and expands what little we know of the Keleshite empire and its people, but that's pretty much all the good parts. I was hoping for some good settlement descriptions and notable personalities, city maps and such. The map is needs work and was changed from a previous map of Qadira (new mountains, river, and a forest!).
Now all this could be due to the fact that the Keleshite Empire and Casmaron have not been fleshed out yet. But I see book this as a lost opportunity to do exactly that. Create an anchor for us to go into that continent.
My biggest issue with this is the populations. They're HUGE in comparison to the Avistani nations. You could add up all of Cheliax, Andoran and Taldor and not come up with those numbers. This from a country that is mainly desert. Like how would Zimar ever harass the Qadiran ships when there is a city almost 5 times its size on the opposite banks of the Jalrune river.
Not suited for Free RPG DayShivok —
This is a good module with challenging encounters that can test players to their limits. Overall thematically it is also very good.
However as a Free RPG Day module it may not be the best to introduce new players to RPG games or the Pathfinder RPG. The encounters can be quite challenging when using the Pregens that are provided even though they possess many of the items that can be used to overcome the encounters.
Jirelle is near-worthless as a party member in this encounter and highlights where a swashbuckler would have a tough time (Skeleton pirate ships ahoy).
The other major issue with this module is that it can run a full 4 hours or more. Free RPG Day modules should be about 3 hours long at most to accommodate walk-ins and folks new to rpg's in general.
My recommendations for Free RPG Day mods should be less challenging in combat encounters with more lighthearted, roleplaying opportunities and less comabt mechanics.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #5–08: The Confirmation (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $3.99Add to Cart
Solid Intro to PFSShivok —
This scenario is a solid introduction of what it means to be a member in the Pathfinder Society to both new and experienced players.
The scenario brings an equal measure of RP and combat, as well as allowing opportunities for skill oriented characters to shine in each encounter.
One of the encounters however can turn into a TPK if players make the wrong choices and learn the hard way why the Society is always in need of fresh recruits.
The enemy selection for the encounters makes replaying this scenario fun as it will most likely be different every time you play it.
The random element introduced in this scenario should be considered for use in future PFS Scenarios.
Flimsy CardstockShivok —
Just got the Map-pack today and the first thing I noticed was the flimsiness of it. Its definitely made of a thinner cardstock as its about half as thick as a regular map-pack. Artwork is great but cardstock used is crappy as it can easily be bend or folded.
I hope this isnt where we are going with the regular map packs.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Race Guide (OGL)Paizo Inc.
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Awesome Book!Shivok —
I've had the opportunity to look at this book for several days and I have to say that it is simply amazing. Not since the APG has a book come out that has something for everyone. I'll break it down by chapter.
Chapter 1: Core Races: This part of the book describes the 7 core race and include a concept which IMO can create great character back story and RP opportunities. That’s the Racial Archetypes - Think Elven Bladesinger from the realms and you'll know what I mean. Finally something that most people in the world can't get but your race. In addition the core races have racial subtypes that don’t change the race stats, but do give flavor by changing the racial traits. Dread Gnome and Gear Gnome come into mind. Finally there are spells & magic items that are primarily used by each race, not exclusively but primarily.
Chapter 2: Focuses on the secondary less fecund races, many of which have been given out as Boons for the Pathfinder Society Games or have been played by fans of RPG games for decades. Fans and Foes of the Drow will be pleased as you can play a drow and work yourselves to becoming 'noble' by spending quite a lot of feats. IMO a balanced approach from what could have been a cheese-fest. There are equipment items which are found primarily (exclusively) in areas where the races are predominant. Some of which are really sweet RP flavor: I'm looking at you Fire Ink (Ifrit Equipment)!
Chapter 3: this continues with the more Uncommon races such as the Sulis, Samsaran, etc. This chapter is written in a similar format to the first two chapters with racial traits/Equipment/special rules all to flavor your character and create more RP opportunities for players. Some of my favorites races included in this were the Sulis and the Elemental Flux vial they can only use which can be both versatile as an player tool but can also be used by the GM to create some fun havoc (you'll see why).
Chapter 4: Was the Race builder where you are given the mechanic behind race creation. Many of the core races and some of the more common monsters were broken down to explain the point creation system. I didn’t tool around too much with this part as I'd rather just pay someone else to create the races for me to play with. But all in all its a simple race creator that doesn’t bog the system down with complicated calculations.
Appendix; This is one of my favorites parts. really you say. well it has something many gamers have been clamoring for years: The Starting ages, maximum ages charts and Height and Weights of the 35+ races featured in this book. How long can a Dhampir or Sylph live for? when do they reace middle age? What is their starting adventuring ages...its in the book!
A great book overall and very well done. This book has something for every player and GM. The Alternate abilities, Racial Traits, and options included in this are sure to make even the most ardent purist eyes light up. So go grab a copy and check it out.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-20: The Rats of Round Mountain—Part I: The Sundered Path (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Killer ScenarioShivok —
this ran in at Origins several times and once I was at the helm GMing boy was it fun. The players several of which were experienced had 2 optimized players. Who intially used thier cleric to diplomacize thourgh the 1st encounter. The 2nd encounter (which took over 12 rounds to complete) was a doozy. Chalenging the most exprienced players - dropping a fighter within the 2nd round and a magus the next round. The wizard (a chelaxian) managed to summon bats and a Bearded devil to fight the Stalker while the Cleric healed everyone else near the cave entrance. The next encounter with the centipedes was easily dealt with by the wizard with AoE and by the final encounter they were too afraid to fight so they in turn gave up all the equipment they found and a few trinckets to appease the dragon.
Gotta say most players dont have ore than a single daylight spell to deal with the stalker encounter. So we had several players at the other table cry foul over it, but hey Pathfinders gotta get a real challenge sometime right?
Good Job!Shivok —
Got my 2 cases today and my 2 black dragons: ended up with this breakdown: Each case gave me a complete set of every mini and them some! So I was very happy with the variation and doubles quantity.
The Good: Variation, Goblin minis rock!, Succubus was really good, Giant was good, ettin was great (I got 6 of them), Lich was awesome detail was good in some of the minis and ok in others. Black Dragon was a great sculpt!
The Bad: Some of the minis look a little cartoonish. I collect ALOT of plastic minis so when I was reviewing them I found the following things that bothered me: Some of these sculpts are Mageknight/Heroclix sculpts: The werewolf, wolf, & lizard man are all near replicas of older minis.(I know I have them). Also the Black Dragon was smallish for a huge mini. In fact it should be a large.
The Advice: Make sure these sculpts are not regurgitated from another line. Keep the heroes out of these sets (sell those in open blisters). Lastly add another rarity level so we have somewhere to put the BBG in.
This book is a disappointmentShivok —
What I thought would have been an awesome addition to my RPG Library turns out to have fallen flat.
Some of the options here are just flat-out unbalanced in comparion to base classes.
The words of power was pretty much incomprehensable.
lots of editing issues.
Paizo your putting out too much, too fast without proper playtesting.
You're a great company lets not lose sight of that.