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Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Sandpoint, Light of the Lost CoastPaizo Inc.
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I wouldn't change a thingSteve Geddes —
The first order I ever placed with Paizo was for Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to Korvosa. It immediately went to the top of my list of “gazetteer products” produced for any system and has remained there until this week, when I received Sandpoint – Light of the Lost Coast.
This book is an absolute gem. I struggle to find anything critical to say about it. There is a great poster map – the town on one side and the surrounding countryside on the other. There’s also a brilliant two-page illustration showing the town which will prove a godsend for helping players “get” the local geography (I hope this becomes a regular feature, going forward).
This focus on usability at the game table really shines through every page of the book. There are fifty two places of interest detailed within the town. In addition to the purpose/function of each location, they all come complete with an NPC, a rumor and a plot hook (generally tied to the NPC’s rumor). The whole book is structured to help the DM really make the place feel real to the players.
There are plenty of adventure sites sketched out – not enough to run an adventure out of the book but plenty to get you started creatively. Reading it feels like you could take PCs from 1st level all the way through to their teens without ever leaving the town. The adventure sites are all set securely within the history of the town – a brilliantly balanced plot hook that gives you enough that the players won’t know what’s yours and what’s “official” yet leaves plenty of scope to build exactly the adventures your group likes.
Although brief, the section on the Sandpoint Hinterlands really stood out to me. The “areas of interest nearby” sections of town/city RPG books are rarely very good, in my experience. They generally feel tacked on and incomplete. In this case, the care the author took in the first sections is still very much in evidence. It seems like no matter what bits of the setting pique my PCs’ attention, there’ll be plenty there to help me keep them entertained.
It’s difficult to articulate exactly why this book stands out to me, but I’ve been buying “campaign starting points” since Village of Hommlet and I can honestly say this is the best one I’ve ever seen. It’s my new favourite Paizo town/city book (and I suspect it’s going to take another ten years to dislodge it).
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Nidal, Land of ShadowsPaizo Inc.
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A terrific description of one of the most evil countriesSteve Geddes —
Nidal is an intriguing nation and one of the most unique to Golarion, in my view.
This first part of the book does a brilliant job of portraying the thorough depravity of the place and what it’s like to live under the oppressive, slightly insane theocracy. The following chapter on adventure sites is full of adventure hooks and places/reasons to visit. The book finishes off with half a dozen well chosen, nidalese themed monsters.
I think it’s hard to portray a truly evil place without descending into parody and this book has avoided that trap with great skill. It was exquisitely written and a joy to read (albeit with the occasional shiver).
As with all good sourcebooks, I ended up with half a dozen campaign/adventure ideas rolling around in my head. That’s the point of these kinds of supplements and I can’t give it anything other than five stars.
More like this please!
Pathfinder Adventure Path #127: Crownfall (War for the Crown 1 of 6)Paizo Inc.
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One of the best intros everSteve Geddes —
I have received legal advice (from Poland no less) that I should post a review, so here it is (note I haven’t yet run this, it is based purely on reading it):
This instalment has immediately become one of my top modules of all time. As all first instalments of an AP, it serves two purposes – first it introduces the next epic adventure path and second it is an adventure in its own right. As far as the first goes, it is terrific. It makes it clear that the players in this AP will be agents of a political leader/faction and not vying for the throne themselves. It also demonstrates that combat will take a less important role in this AP than many others. Finally, it embeds the story in the Empire of Taldor – there are hints of the vast history of the nation and how that will tie-in later, plus introductions to many of the political factions at work in the Empire during this adventure path.
As an adventure in its own right, I think it is exquisitely crafted. First thing to note is that it is definitely an intrigue/roleplay scenario over a combat-focussed scenario. The first several encounters have incidental combat opportunities at best – rather there is a whole bunch of investigation/research and diplomacy opportunities. When things DO get ‘tactical’ even the dungeon featuring the first few bad guys begins with an intricate puzzle spread over a few rooms before there’s any opportunity to kill things and take their stuff (although those opportunities come up later).
The factions are interesting, the initial patron (likely to continue in that role for the campaign, by the looks) is engaging, likable and has a deep background. She is portrayed as ambitious plus competent and yet still sympathetic. There is a good reason for her involving the PCs (often a matter requiring suspension of disbelief in Aps).
My biggest pleasant surprise of this module is that despite being heavily roleplay focussed in the early stages, I feel like I would be able to run it with anyone – whether they were comfortable acting it out or if they preferred to roll dice and consult DCs. As such, I think it would be a good intrigue/diplomacy adventure for a group lacking confidence in that regard (assuming they wanted to stretch their legs somewhat).
My only criticism is that it takes a long time before the PCs get to really flex their combat muscles. At least for my group, they LOVE getting into combats early so they can see how they gel as a group tactically and can try out whatever tactic/approach they’ve decided to pursue with their new, shiny characters. I think I would definitely run the PCs through a ‘meet the team’ adventure first – complete with lots of stealth/combat/etcetera. That would be easily motivated as a ‘testing ground’ for the patron before she entrusts them with the missions in this module. My worry is that, without that introduction, they’ll spend the whole first half (which is supposed to be subtle investigation/diplomacy) sabotaging the plot by getting into fights they really shouldn’t be starting.
As ever – that’s the kind of thing that depends heavily on your group’s idiosyncracies.
If you’re looking for an intrigue/political macinations module, I can’t think of a better one (in any system or any decade from the 70s through to now). There’s some work on the part of the DM, of course, but that’s the nature of the beast when adventures step outside the ‘usual’ fare of kicking in doors and killing clearly identified baddies.
It’s a thoroughly excellent adventure – hats off to everyone who worked on it!
Starfinder Adventure Path #1: Incident at Absalom Station (Dead Suns 1 of 6)Paizo Inc.
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Excellent BeginningSteve Geddes —
This is a great first instalment in the Starfinder AP line. There's no doubt that there are far fewer Science Fantasy adventures around than pure fantasy so, for me at least, I have very little to compare it to and find myself with only nebulous, ill-formed expectations. I expect this will become my 'first level Starfinder adventure' measuring stick for a good few years.
I generally prefer to run adventures before reviewing them and will not be running this until I've read all six instalments. In this case, I wanted to make some comments about the backmatter, so have broken that rule. As such, the impression of the first section (the adventure part) is based purely on a read through, not on how it survived contact with the players.
The adventure is shorter than a Pathfinder AP instalment which suits me down to the ground. It provides a good showcase of the new rules - some combats, some skill based investigation, starship combat, and so forth. It's also a nice introduction to the universe of Starfinder - introducing some parts of Absalom Station, the Starfinder Society and one feels is setting the scene for further explorations of the Pact Worlds and some of the factions vying for influence.
The second section is a gazetteer of Absalom Station and is a good introduction to some of the neighbourhoods and sites of interest. It's no doubt a difficult problem. but I find myself struggling to really picture the place without a map and none is provided here - rather we get a picture of the station overall and a handful of illustrations of differing places within. It's clearly a problem to come up with a meaningful map, but I think it's a problem that needs to be solved. I'm very much hoping the upcoming Pact Worlds book provides a lot in the way of maps.
The third section is my least favorite. A whole bunch of magical items from pre Gap Golarion. It is inevitable that Paizo utilise the fact that this universe is the same as the one Pathfinder is set in (there's some valuable IP there that has clearly caught the fans' attention, so it would be silly to leave it behind). Nonetheless, I find myself pondering why they bothered having the Gap at all, given so much of the Starfinder material coming out seems to me to be tying in to "how things were" anyhow (from several of the factions, to the pantheon, and now a whole bunch of relics from Golarion which could have been new themes, starship enhancements, or an exploration of some new-world mysteries.
I really, really hope Section Three doesn't become "bringing stuff from Pre-Gap Golarion into space" in every AP issue.
The fourth section is aliens and the selection was a nice mix of pretty low level threats - ideal for now, especially given it will be a little while until the Alien Archive is available. Paizo do monsters well so I tend to take their bestiaries for granted - it's hard to remember how well they do it when it's always such high quality. Based on this selection, I expect the Alien Archives to continue with equal quality.
The final section is the first in a Codex of Worlds series - a one page write up of a new planet. This was my favorite - I love lore above mechanics and this page was pretty much pure flavor. I can't wait to begin collecting these and can imagine this developing into a fully fledged, standalone product line (perhaps adding a couple of pages of aliens/technology/etcetera).
Finally, there was the back and front inside covers - this was also my favorite (thanks to Tacticslion for the revelation that one can have multiple favorites). The front cover is a picture, some flavor material and then stats for a tier 3 ship which the players "earn" through the adventure. The back cover is a floorplan. I can't fault the execution of this in any way.
Overall, I'd like to give it four and a half stars - the lack of a decent map of Absalom Station Gazetteer, although understandable, is still a noticable ommission. The "Relics of Golarion" section was the only true disappointment. I've rated it four merely so I have room to improve.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Aquatic Adventures (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
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Excellent, although too many rules for my likingSteve Geddes —
I find this book very hard to rank in the usual one to five star way.
I enjoyed the first forty pages immensely. They give a really good survey of the oceans and seas of Golarion including plenty of adventure hooks, details of who lives where and everything you'd want from an introductory 'gazetteer' of such large areas.
My main complaint is that each section is too short and further that there's no discussion of the bodies of water to be found in the Darklands. Given the importance of underworld regions to a fantasy world, the latter in particular feels like a glaring omission.
The reason for that is no doubt the perceived need to include the mechanics in the latter part of the book. I suspect that these rules elements are well done and probably even necessary (I don't buy the campaign books for rules, so I haven't done more than flick through the later parts of the book) - nonetheless, I wish they'd been provided in some other way. It feels to me that this isn't really a campaign setting book, but rather two thirds of a campaign book plus some rules stuff.
Given all of that, I still consider this good value and it's a welcome entry in the line. I'd just personally prefer that the flavor proportion of these books be given greater weight.
Even high expectations can be exceededSteve Geddes —
In my opinion, this is the best opening to a Pathfinder comics story arc yet.
I am a big fan of Red Sonja, Valeros and Erik Mona, so I went in with high expectations - all of which were met. I don't think it would matter if you are unfamiliar with either Red Sonja or the world of Golarion. I think this series is going to be an excellent introduction to both.
There was always a risk that the "transported to another place" element was going to be too obviously just an excuse for a crossover. For me, I barely gave it a second thought - the comic begins with a bang and immediately opens up questions and mysteries for the hero to solve. I found myself wondering along with him, rather than being pulled from the story. I started curious about how it was going to work and ended up thinking only about the story, with a dozen questions, theories and guesses - eagerly waiting for the next issue.
There is lots of action, lots of story and lots of personalities introduced. Exciting battle scenes, genuine humor and a cliffhanger ending - what else could one want from a Pathfinder comic?
The only minuscule issue I had was with the opening - I felt like I'd just missed out on another cool story....Then again, I'm always happy when the sole complaint I can find with a product is that there wasn't enough of it.
Erik, Red Sonja and Valeros remain solidly as a few of my favorite things. If you're even mildly curious - buy this comic. It's awesome. :)
Pathfinder—Hollow Mountain #1 (Standard Cover—Sebastian Chichon)Dynamite Entertainment
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Looking to be my favorite series so farSteve Geddes —
I think the comics line is going from strength to strength. Whilst I enjoyed the origins series of one-shots, it's good to get back to a more extended storyline - plus the heroes are delving into a megadungeon with plenty of runelord flavor, so what could be better?
I quite liked the 'montage' approach taken to portray a protracted dungeon delve. The story has me immediately impatient for issue two - which is always a good sign.
The only negative, for me, was that some of the character interactions/developments are a little clumsy and obvious. I kind of feel like someone is hitting me over the head shouting "Hey! These two are in a relationship!" rather than just showing me. I can't decide if that's a function of this comic in particular or just the genre though, so I don't think it's worth the loss of a star (apologies to James - I feel like I'm being very picky here...)
It did feel a little too short (possibly just a function of setting the scene as issue #1) and I never like comics with ads, but one without is pretty rare these days. It also bugs me as a comic buyer that I can't opt-out of the folded up map included (which inevitably creases the covers). I'd much prefer it if the map inclusions were restricted to the paizo.com covers (so the gamers could get their accessories if desired). this is especially true of the special edition covers which I really don't want to have pronounced creases in.
All up, I'm going to settle on four stars. If you haven't yet read any of the Patfinder comics, I'd strongly recommend this as a good place to start. There's a few references to people from earlier series, but nothing plot relevant.
Surely they can't ALL be "the best set we've done to date..."?Steve Geddes —
Well, this one is. Plus it had to get over my bias against dungeon dressing (so count this as a five star rating from a minus one star start).
Wizkids and Paizo have done their typical, stellar job of rarity determination and collation. I got at least one of every figure in my case and ended up with multiples of the things I need multiples of and single copies of those that tend to come in ones.
I was struck by the colour scheme. Typically, I find PFBattles figures to be a little too bright and cartoony. These were much more to my taste. I had zero issues with any paint jobs - melty faced or otherwise (though I confess I'm a little less fussy than most, in that regard).
I really wish the dungeon dressing was in its own line of products (a la the iconics line) as I feel they're sufficiently different from "regular" figures to warrant separation. As it is, I find a niggling part of my brain resenting the fact that I subsidised the production of these when I COULD have been subsidising another half dozen rare monster sculpts.
Despite that one negative, the quality of this set demands a five star rating. This is right up there as one of my all time favourite cases from any miniatures manufacturer.
I keep changing my mind about this novel.Steve Geddes —
I really enjoyed the Golarion lore in this book. Quite a bit of stuff about the mwangi expanse, it's history and it's current exploitation by the Aspis consortium. There was an enjoyable plot - I found the protagonists believable and likeable and their enemies truly villainous. I desperately wanted them to get their comeuppance.
For me, the negatives came in the character development - a significant portion of the book had the main character reluctant to trust her new companions, feeling like an outsider, carrying her burden on her own, etcetera... Then it seemed like, all in a rush, everything is resolved and she's learnt to have friends. I also found myself railing at her blinkered stubbornness/stupidity a few too many times, though that's a pet hate of mine and probably isn't a big deal.
I can't decide on four stars for story or three stars for character - I'm going to round down because there was a particularly unpleasant torture scene (in my opinion it went beyond paizo's usual PG13 bounds). I don't enjoy reading that stuff without warning, so I've settled on a three out of five.
Disappointing setSteve Geddes —
I'm surprised the other reviewers have ranked this set so highly. To me, it feels like the line is getting tired. No doubt exacerbated by the inherent problems of working with licensees, I'm starting to experience a certain sense of deja vu when Erik posts that he's "working with Wizkids to iron out the problems - the next set is going to be awesome..." (or words to that effect).
The paintjobs continue to be sloppy, the number of sculpts has dropped significantly and there were a whole bunch of combat-useful figures omitted so that goats, crows, foxes and owls could be included. It's nice to have those, but not four or five of each at the expense of miniatures with far more utility. I can now plot out a nice farmyard scene but what's the point? The location of each animal is hardly going to be important.
I wouldnt recommend this set to anyone who wasnt an avid collector. I think it would make a poor first impression. Far better to just get a few of the single minis (several of them are quite good - it's the set overall which I found disappointing).
Pathfinder Legends—Rise of the Runelords #1: Burnt OfferingsBig Finish Productions
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Made the drive to work enjoyableSteve Geddes —
This was my first foray into the world of audio-dramas. I wasnt sure what to expect (the trailer didnt impress me to be honest) but I'm glad I bought it.
I thought the actors were great - the voices were clear, believable and distinctive. I also thought they were well cast - Valeros was the only one who sounded wrong to me at first, but I got used to his accent pretty quickly. At times the sound effects and/or music was a little loud - I had one or two moments of missing a line, especially during battles, but they were rare.
Sometimes the script bugged me, but on reflection the task was pretty challenging. There were one or two bits of dialogue where the characters are 'explaining' things they'd probably already know just so the audience can catch up. I found Ezren's narration of his notes to the Pathfinder Society a much better vehicle for that sort of thing really.
The script also walks a fine line in meeting the needs of those who know the AP and those who dont. As someone in the first category, I really enjoyed it however I could imagine it being hard to follow (perhaps?) if you didnt know something of the story first. There were also the odd bits of expository dialogue which I could have done without but which are no doubt necessary for those with no prior knowledge of Golarion.
The parts of the AP's plot which were included and the parts omitted were well chosen, I think. I would have preferred a longer, more thorough rendering of the story, but then again leaving the listener wanting more is probably far preferable than the alternative.
From some minimal research, it seems somewhat pricey for an audio-drama of this length, however I think the quality lives up to the price-tag. I'd certainly not be put off by the trailer - I dont think that was the best choice to represent the episode.
It was a good way to pass the time in traffic and I'll certainly be picking up a subscription as soon as it is available.
I liked themSteve Geddes —
I've got a fair few cases of the previous sets and a consistent thing that's bugged me is the 'cartoony' look. On receiving this set, I was pleased to see a shift - I think the 'bad paintjobs' previous reviewers have referred to might have been a shift in artistic direction. I, for one, prefer the look (although it looks like I'm not going to see it repeated for a while). If I hold each mini up, I can see what is irking others - the way I use minis though, they're only looked at passingly and from a distance - the sharp contrast and brighter colours of previous sets has been a far bigger turn off for me than the darker figures in this set.
Where I was actually disappointed was in choice of figures. I'm long past going "Cool! Another goblin!" and now just think of all the things I'd rather have seen. I'm similarly puzzled by the inclusion of a monkey swarm in a "legends of Golarion" set. Maybe an AP set, but are they really an iconic, Golarion thing? (Or do they really feature so much in Pathfinder games that a mini was crying out to be made?) The green dragon was superior to both the previous black and blue incentives in my view, but I am kind of over seeing yet another dragon as the centrepiece. I find different color dragons easy enough to substitute - I would have far more preferred something more distinctive (and ideally more Golarion specific).
If you're put off by the new look, I think it's probably worth at least considering the large size figures. Overall, they still seem to be in the high contrast, brighter colours of previous sets.
I've continued to be impressed by the distribution of the figures and the fact I got a complete set, as per previous sets.
Based on this set a kobold and/or orc builder set is hopefully on the way, but please Wizkids/Paizo - ease off on the goblins for a while?
A good set for those with substantial collectionsSteve Geddes —
For me, the best thing about this set was that it filled a niche that has been sorely under-represented in available pre-painted miniatures, namely aquatic monsters.
I still find it annoying to have common humans and demihumans (since you get so many different sculpts of PCs/NPCs around the place, I really dont see the need for four or five of one specific figure). I'd rather all the humans were rare and that the monsters were more heavily represented in the common and uncommon rarities.
I had a complete set of minis with only minor deviations from 'expected' distributions (I had five copies of one common mini and two copies of another). None of them were broken in transit and they all came away undamaged from the packaging.
Really strong 'new direction'Steve Geddes —
This is the first in a revamp to the modules line and has immediately become my favorite Paizo module to date.
The additional pages really allows them to provide extra sidetreks/subplots/background info. Some of the earlier modules sometimes seems a little incomplete or 'rough'. On my first read through, this feels like a nice, self contained little snippet of Golarion it seems I could easily expand but without feeling like it's incomplete or too sketchy.
The story is pretty traditional but with typical Paizo thoughtfulness behind it. The liberal use of side quests and tie-ins to the town mean one could run this at either the sandbox or railroad ends of the spectrum without much trouble.
I really like the tie-in to the quest cards (available as part of a separate product here. Not sure how that will play out at our table, but being a relatively time-deprived group who pay very little attention to the campaign between sessions, I'm really hoping this will provide the necessary prod to keep players on track and remembering what they're supposed to be doing.
The inclusion of the map is a welcome (and overdue) improvement. One side is the town (always useful to have, imo) and the other is a battlemat for likely one of the most memorable, 'key' encounters. I have a minor gripe, in that the town map has numbers but no key. Ideally, I'd have liked the map to just have labels (like 'town hall', 'manor', 'church', etcetera) or to have included a key for the numbered buildings. As it is, I'm not sure that they do much more than detract from the look of it. <- It's a very minor point though.
My only real objection to the module is that I feel it tries to do a little too much. Starting at 1st and potentially finishing at 7th (although admittedly that's going to require a particularly dedicated and methodical group) is a little too broad for my tastes. This is again a very minor gripe.
If you've steered away from the modules line before, I think this is well worth a look - both for the little morsel of Golarion lore it provides and to see the new approach they are taking.
I think it would make an excellent module for a keen Beginner Box DM as well. Technically it could go beyond the BB comfort zone, but you'll have a lot of gameplay under your belt by then - I'm sure you'd either be able to wing it or that you'll have moved onto the Core Rules by then.
I've not yet played it, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. It's going to be my new "introduction to Golarion" module for quite some time, I suspect.
DisappointingSteve Geddes —
I'm a big fan of pawns and if this were the only (or first) item in the product line, I'd have marked it higher. Given there are a bunch of sets out now, though, I feel this has a number of disappointing aspects.
The primary issue I have is selection of multiple figures - four cutthroat lawyers and only one horse, six buccaneers despite the existence of the skulls and shackles set. No doubt this depends on ones game style, but are there that many campaigns where a second or third horse would be redundant and where two lawyers would be a glaring shortfall?
Some of the names rankled as well (although I concede that's purely a cosmetic issue, it nonetheless prevented me from filing them in alphabetical order, as I'd prefer to do). Toothy transmuter? :/
I'd also have preferred there to be no included bases (now that they're available separately). It makes the box bigger than it needs to be and, for those of us using freight companies who utilise volume in addition to weight when determining shipping charges, that amounts to an additional cost for things we already have (or can get easily).
I'd give it two and a half stars if I could. I've marked it down based on comparisons with the other sets (which are far better executed, in my opinion).
I confess to being chronically "craft-challenged", however these are a little annoying to expand from their flattened shape. I tore a couple and creased a couple more. By the end of assembling the dozen or so I needed, I was still struggling to do it easily.
They work as advertised, but the fact there aren't a few options for design (I would have at least liked color coded urban, wilderness and dungeon options), coupled with the annoyance factor means I'm giving them a three star rating.
One pleasant surprise was that they fit twenty cards with relative ease, so the covers of the "pre-boxed" sets can have a home too.
Shades of Swallowed Whole :(Steve Geddes —
This is a rare miss for me in this line.
I like the idea of customising the battlemat, but the execution has generally been disappointing with other attempts I've seen. Sadly, this product is no exception. The trouble I foresee is with storing and accessing the appropriate vehicle, plus the added complication of lots of fiddly bits on the table (it appears the intention is for me to cut out lots of little husky tokens to pull a sled, for example which is just going to be a huge pain if they ever actually move on the battlemat).
With this specific set, I was hoping the utility would overcome the drawbacks, but another disappointment was that these werent printed on transparent plastic. As such - the background is fixed with the vehicle. (I havent used these in play yet, so perhaps it wont jar, but placing them on the various flipmats in which they might be used doesnt have me looking forward to using them).
There are some exceptions - the boats will, lets face it, always be used on a water background, so I doubt there'll be an issue there. Likewise the sleds on snow and I can live with the hang-gliders having a sky "background" despite the lack of logic. All in all though, I suspect these wont get a lot of use at my table, other than the boats.
Another negative, stupid as it sounds, is the need to cut everything out myself. I'm not particularly good at stuff like that - I either do it quickly and get a bad result or painstakingly slowly, making me grumpy. I guess there's no way they could be perforated, but it's another reason for me to rate the product low.
1 star feels too tough, 2 stars feels too generous. Nonetheless, this is a (rare) paizo product I wish they hadnt bothered with.
Better than H&MSteve Geddes —
This set is a definite improvement over the first set, in my opinion. The look of the figures seems to have been tweaked somewhat - whereas I found H&M too cartoony, these monsters seem a little more "real" (stupid as that feels to type).
There are a number of truly exceptional minis - the huge Karzoug statue, the large Wendigo and the medium Lamia Kuchrima really stood out to me. Overall, they are well designed, well painted and, for the most part, well chosen for their use in the RotRL AP.
My few complaints are the inclusion of some iconics - not necessary for the AP and, given some AP monsters have been excluded, it seems like a misallocation. I'd prefer the specific sets remain specific and the generic sets contain the generic figures. I guess this will make the set more widely useful, but I would have preferred a second ghoul sculpt in place of Larsk or Seoni, for example (not that they are bad minis - just not what you need to run Rise of the Runelords).
My other criticism is the fragility of many of the sculpts. A number of figures popped off their bases when I removed them from the packaging (none had arrived broken in transit though). It seems to me there are less 'footpads' anchoring the minis in this set than H&M and that may have contributed to this issue - certainly all the figures of mine which broke apart where anchored to the base with just a couple of plastic pins. I know there has been some discussion about these and criticism of them in the H&M set, but in my view they dont stand out in play at all - just when you closely examine the figure. I'd much rather have the minis set on bases properly and be more robust than have to store them and handle them gingerly.
Having said that, the sculpting of weapons/etcetera out of a softer, more malleable plastic was an improvement over H&M, which seems to me to have been a little more brittle overall than this release.
I got three cases, two included at least one of each sculpt (with duplications pretty much skewed towards those figures you'd like to have multiple copies of). The other case was missing two rares, but had a good spread of the other figures. From early case reports, it seems that Wizkids did a good job of achieving a high completion rate. It seems that, if you are unlucky enough not to have got the complete set of 60 figures in a standard case, you are likely to be missing 2-3 rares.
It's pretty close to five stars, in my view. The inclusion of non-AP figures in an AP set and the tendency of some to snap off drop it to four.
Don't like prestige classes, but I like thisSteve Geddes —
Ive never really been a fan of prestige classes and it wasn't until I got this that I realized why. They always seem to be "mechanically motivated" - almost solutions for combining two disparate classes rather than attempts to provide mechanical support to some campaign specific concept.
In contrast, the prestige classes in this book seem much more heavily driven by flavor considerations. I can't speak to their mechanical effectiveness, but as inspirations for character concepts tied to the world of golarion, I think they work exceptionally well.
I definitely wouldnt recommend it to people who aren't playing in paizo's game world. But for those familiar with the setting, this book provides many avenues for developing characters with close ties to some of the various intriguing regions of golarion.
Bargain price - excellent qualitySteve Geddes —
These are an outstanding alternative to miniatures. They are durable, look nice, work well and are quick and easy to prep before a session. There are multiple figures for those creatures you're likely to need more than one of (duplicates have an unobtrusive, color coding identifier to help track them during play).
There may be times you're going to need more pawns of a particular type for an encounter - but at 300+ pawns for $35, it seems downright churlish to expect more. I think the designers did an excellent job of balancing the need for multiple figures with the need to provide a wide coverage of creatures.
If you frequently use tactical representations at your gaming table but still rely on dice, bottle tops and assorted snacks...I would thoroughly recommend grabbing one of these. It's a cheap and easy way to share fabulous paizo artwork with your players.
More like three and a half starsSteve Geddes —
I picked up three cases of these and received a complete set in each one and no duplicates in any brick (as promised). One of the cases was severely crushed and there was no damage to any of the minis inside.
The painting is very good and consistent and I personally prefer the stiffer plastic to those used in other plastic miniatures. Having said that, it's worth bearing in mind that they have a distinctive style and, for me at least, it's a little too 'cartoony' in some instances. Some of the detailing (particularly around the monsters mouths, for example) is a little too heavy handed in my view. They will look different in a collection of D&D minis - many will prefer the style, but many wont. If you were to pick up one Wizkids mini to use in a game using predominantly D&D minis, I think they would stand out and look a little odd (and vice versa).
My main negatives are the gimmicky 'choice of weapon' for the Frost Giant. It doesnt add much in my view and is just one more thing to break and store/lose. I was also disappointed at the inclusion of non-rare heroes since I dont think there's as much utility in multiple heroes as there is in many copies of the same monster. I'd prefer (when purchasing a random miniature) that it was from a reasonably tightly defined class of miniatures. In my view mingling heroes with monsters and the chosen rarities wasnt quite right. Hopefully this last is a function of it being an 'introductory set' and that future sets will be more tightly themed and/or have the rarities tweaked.
Somewhere between 3 and 4 starsSteve Geddes —
I wasnt as taken with this as previous reviewers. I liked the story, although it's not my favorite Paizo module it's a very good "Fresh faced adventurers heading out into the world" module which usually tend to feel somewhat contrived to me. I also thought it was excellent at introducing some of the more important changes from 3.5 to Pathfinder.
Where it fell down, in my opinion, was in the room descriptions. Some examples: there's no mention of two stairs between rooms 4 and 9 on the first level (presumably they just join up, but it would have been nice to have that spelt out). I'm not sure how one unlocks the door in the southwest corner of room 6... Those sorts of things let the module down for me.
It also hit my pet peeve - the inside back cover is a reprint of the picture on the front. I would so much have preferred the second level map to go there, freeing up one page for expanded room descriptions as per the paragraph above. It's a nice second-best option to have the dungeon map in the centre of the book, but not as easy to find as if it were on the inside cover.
A good introductory module, despite that - the omissions are relatively easy to sort out yourself. It would just be nice to not have to.