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Pathfinder—Origins #1: Valeros (Standard Cover—Stjepan Sejic)Dynamite Entertainment
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I've read the Dark Waters Rising and City of Secrets 6 part adventures and this first Origins story continued my enjoyment of the comics line. In many ways I enjoyed this tale of Valeros and Amiri working together to defeat an evil cult more than the 6-part comics. In the relatively small space of a standard issue comic there are numerous plot twists and surprises in the story, its never predictable from first page to last. There is a good sense of black humour running through. And as a DM the story gave me numerous ideas for a side quest along similar lines which is gold-dust to a DM. The poster map of a temple is excellent and a different style than other temple poster maps I've seen which is a bonus. I am looking forward to reading the other Origins. The backstory idea works really well and I think its gives more freedom to the writers than when parties of iconics are all in the same location on the same adventure. I hope Dynamite do another line of them, perhaps after Hollow Mountain.
Brilliant intrigue and revenge in Magnimaredxerox —
Loved this. Luma is a great character and protagonist, you feel for her early on and root for her all the way. Her urban druid powers are well written. Her motley band come together and compliment each other well. The NPC-type characters are memorable and well drawn. Magnimar really comes to life, there are some nice descriptive passages of the city which enable you to visualise the characters being in a large fantasy city filled with jaw-dropping architecture and massive features.
The ending surprised me, one I thought wouldn't happen (read it and see), but I was pleased to see it did as it kept with the strong moral thread running down the spine of this book. Adult characters made some bad decisions and showed no mercy or empathy. They must reap what they sow.
One of the more mature Tales novels I have read because there are few monsters here, its about people trying to get away with murder and conspiracy and those trying to stop them.
Decent settler storyedxerox —
This is a decent settler story tying in nicely to Thornkeep. Get in with the locals, fortify the camp, know your environment, adversity builds character, learn new skills, adapt, and so on. The reason why this is 3 stars is because the publicity and synopsis above would lead you to think that Tyressa is the main protagonist, when in fact her son fulfils this role. If the press said the son was the main protagonist I probably would not have purchased. Regardless of the setting, genre, etc I've read/watched enough adolescent coming of age scenarios to last a lifetime. The synopsis is not clear this book has a heavy dose of this, it was almost as if the author started with Tyressa in mind as the main protagonist but found the boy's story much more compelling. The big video-game ending was a bit too Disney Pixar Star Wars prequels for me, goblins as cannon fodder, people are wounded, teenagers shot with arrows and piercing wounds, there's been brutal melee fighting, but at the end everyone's well just swell.
Decent tool for playersedxerox —
I've recently DMed my first use of this product. I don't use the published rule set with the product but simply give each player one card. They can use a card once per day by declaring its use as per the trigger on the card. I asked them to describe/role-play what they did when they used the boon on the card rather than just read out the mechanics. If they use their card they get dealt a new one. They are not compelled to use the card every day any anyway some cards won't be able to be used every day e.g. some are for saving throws which might not come up. Its a simple mechanic. I don't feel the need as a DM to balance this by having cards for PC foes either. All in all a decent addition to player options and can be role-played reasonably well to add a surge/edge/scale tipping element to an encounter. I would buy a sequel or supplement.
only 90 pages into this so my initial thoughts on reading my first Pathfinder novel and my first fantasy novel for a few years. It's really entertaining so far. The author draws upon the richness of the Irrisien/Korvosa settings in really creative ways already; the personalities and quirks of the characters are well drawn; the writing style is brisk but not lacking in detail or description; the dialogue is witty and direct. and occasionally you read a passage and think 'did i just read that' and read the passage again. like 'your brother's body was tossed into a vat of urine and boiled for 2 days. the process dissolves the flesh from the bone. the resulting sludge was fed to the creatures that scour the sewers. his bones were added to those of camels and asses to create skeletal amalgamations - difficult to animate, but the results were amusing to watch' says a trainee necromancer in anger. This is creative, entertaining stuff.
Gamesmastery mappacks are great for tabletop RPGs. Some sets are more location specific such as Haunted Mansion, whilst other sets are more versatile and can be set up in a number of different ways. They can be combined easily, for example I laid out an entire town from various sets including slums, shops, town, graveyard and others. As a DM the sets often give me inspiration when designing scenarios and combat encounters. It would be great for Pazio to produce more generic terrain sets, like Forest, with interesting and/or difficult terrain features, such as various planar terrain, desert, broken lands, hills etc, and a set of castle walls or a keep set for castle/keep scenarios. Recently purchased Lost Island which is good as ever, but my favorite set is Ruins, the artwork and design is very good.