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A lyrical fare that could have had more depthjoela —
Dark fantasy invades the Islesjoela —
Thoroughly enjoyed Wendy N. Wagner's Skinwalkers. Quite different from the rest of the Pathfinder Tales. It felt far more sword & sorcery / horror than the almost comic-book level heroes (and protags) in many of the other books. It showed how characters would honestly react if encountering events like those from the Skinsaw Murders and Hook Mountain Massacre from the Rise of the Runelord adventure path. I liked the protag, her background and the society she lived in. Nice to read about the importance of familial and extended relationships as the character interacts with said members without them being casually mentioned all the time as part of the background or in flashbacks.
My biggest complaint with the book is it didn't feel like, well, a Pathfinder adventure. This is typical for me of many Pathfinder tales. As usual, the protag continues to be solo whereas most game sessions would have a party of adventurers. This is especially sad since Skinwalkers has one of the best setups to create a party. This, though, is a common complaint I have with virtually all Pathfinder Tales. (Exception: the excellent Worldwound Gambit by Robin D. Laws.) Also non-Pathfinder: the lack of magic. C'mon, not even a wand of healing? Those islanders are not that primitive! Skinwalkers could have been set in a myriad number of low-magic settings. Again, this is a common complaint I have with most Pathfinder Tales.
Otherwise, recommend Skinwalkers, especially if you're looking for some horror in your fantasy.
Cast an Epic Spell in the Land of the Diamond Thronejoela —
A Witch's Choice is a solid start of the Rituals of Choice adventure path despite a few encounter bumps. It is decidingly epic from the get go; PCs will definitely know they're the heroes in this adventure. Arcana Evolved GMs and players will be in for a treat as they explore the Land of the Diamond Throne, while GMs using different settings will find WC's to be less useful.
Full review can be found here.
Epic Armies clash in Dungeons and Dragonsjoela —
Hard Boiled Armies is a 35 page pdf published by One Bad Egg. Part of the company's Hard Boiled Idea lineup, Hard Boiled Armies, or HBA, covers how to simulate those armies battles found in literature such as Glen Cook's gritty Black Company or the finale in Return of King by Tolkien (and Hollywood).
I was pleasantly surprised by this product. On the one hand, I half-expected/half-dreaded a lot of crunch, or rules, similar to miniature war games like Warhammer or the late D&D Miniatures game. Instead, HBA offered a simple concept and lots and lots of options: want to keep combat at its personal PC versus individual monster level while the war rages around them? Done! Use the PC rogue's Stealth check to lead his entire troop unseen into the enemy fortress? Done! The paladin's Lay on Hands affects her 500 man army? Done! (That's one potent Lay on Hands....) I think even hard-core rule fiends will find it useful once they've stopped arguing over the definition of "round" in their campaign.
Full review can be found here. This review is based on review copy provided by One Bad Egg.
Surviving after the Falljoela —
A well-written, professionally packaged science-fiction campaign setting for True20. The extensive history, numerous planets, organizations, and the Rover Station provide plenty of places for adventurers to visit. Reign of Discordia covers most sf genres, from space merchants to political intrigue to outright war between the planets. The possibly biggest issue is the lack of adventure hooks or ideas. GMs will have to come up with their own though given the material, it shouldn't be too difficult.
Only thing missing from the system is means to generate new planets or planetary systems, and animals. Oh, and robots. Gotta have robots. However, these are minor consideration, and I'd recommend Reign even for other sf gaming systems.
Items Evolved: Oaths, is a 10 page pdf. Layout is a standard two column with each item section nicely organized.
Each of the ten items has a short, but specific, background, and powers that deal with oaths, a prominent theme in the Land of the Diamond Throne.
The items are interesting and unique. The Olive Branch of the Dove-pledged, for example, adds a bonus to its wielder's non-damaging attacks. It was created in the Citadel of the Dead Gods, providing both an adventure hook and tie to AE rarely seen in most fantasy rpgs today. Unfortunately, the reverse is true as well, since it makes it more difficult to drop an Evolved Item in a non-AE campaign.
Arcana Evolved campaigns will love the items, so linked they are to the unique setting. Non-AE campaigns, though, may not benefit as much unless either the GM is willing to adapt them to their campaign or use Items Evolved: Oaths as a source of ideas. For the price, a buyer can't go wrong.
Hack-n-Slash in the World of the Diamond Thronejoela —
Full review can be found here.
Overall, the Living Airship is for GMs and players who like to hack-n-slash their way through a game (and who doesn't?). Plenty of interesting foes and a neat terrain (and how!) tests the player characters' tactics.
A world that will bite your head off and you'll love itjoela —
I like Pathfinder Chronicles: Gazetteer. Golarion is a world on the brink of disaster, with every nation looking for trouble with its neighbors, is in trouble, or both. And unlike fantasy worlds like Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms, major forces of good are few and far between. I like the sense of horror pervading throughout the area, with the Eye of Abendego -- a massive, supernatural storm -- off the coast; Asmodeus as a major deity of the Chelexians and a threat to everyone else; to such nations as Galt ("Eternal Revolution") whose populace beheads its leadership every few years.
My review's upjoela —
Striving to be the 3.x heir in the wake of Dungeons & Dragons 4E, the third alpha release of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game still looks more like a collection of houserules than a coalescing ruleset.
Pathfinder Chronicles: Classic Monsters Revisited (OGL)Paizo Inc.
My review's upjoela —
Over at rpg.net:
I thoroughly enjoyed Classic Monsters Revisited. The monsters feel both familiar and different, and players who enjoy exploring the psychology of their foes before taking them down are in for a monstrous (pun intended) surprise. ("What do you mean the ogre's not attacking the rest of the party? Wait, why's he parting my PC's legs? He's doing what?!?") DMs who find their 4th edition Monster Manual sparse with fluff will especially appreciate Revisited.
Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to Darkmoon Vale (OGL) Print EditionPaizo Inc.
Pathfinder Chronicles: Campaign Setting (OGL) Hardcover Print EditionPaizo Inc.