Kobold Quarterly 14

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The Gen Con special issue is the largest and most popular every year! Packed with material for both 4th Edition D&D and the Pathfinder RPG, this magazine is the Switzerland of the edition wars, able to appeal to roleplayers of all stripes. The Gen Con issue's theme is "Traps and Treasures," and it will feature masses of loot and some deadly devices to protect it, plus a sneak preview of characters from the upcoming Pathfinder novels, two new PC classes, advice from Monte Cook, and the ever-popular Ecology series.

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The start of a great tradition

*****

In what’s becoming a welcome annual tradition, the folks at Kobold Quarterly bring you the Gencon issue-- #14 is bigger and more jam packed full of good stuff than any issue before it. The magazine rolls in as a full centurion, perfect bound with a great Nicole Cardiff painted cover that’s a little heavier weight paper than the 100 inside pages. The table of contest offers a buffet of twenty-some articles, and depending on which side of the edition fence you stand, you’ll either love or grumble a little at the slight Pathfinder focus. For those keeping score, it’s 5 4E articles, 8 Pathfinder articles, and 9 system-neutral or alternate system articles with a smattering of others.

And four years into this, you can be sure the selection is pretty fantastic all around. KQ has been award winning shop from the start, and this issue doesn’t buck that trend. What articles stood out in this offering? With so many to choose from, it’s tough to pick just a few, but these alone make the issue worthwhile:

“The Ecology of the Tengu” rocked the house, especially when combined with the four days of bonus material provided on the Kobold Quarterly website. Did you want Tengu culture? There. Maybe Tengu variants? Got it. How about ways to integrate Tengu into Golarion or the Open Design world of Midgard? Yeah, it’s in there. The Tengu article is just shy of a full supplement, and that’s great, no matter what you’re playing.

Next, the article on Skill Battles offers a very interesting and cool method for expanding your encounter variety. Intended for 4E but conceptually applicable to any edition, Hanson’s option looks at procedural and dramatic contests, giving characters an abstracted alternative to the usual fare of encounter, dailies and at-wills. It strives to create a hybrid of traditional battles and the reskinned idea of complex skill checks that are skill challenges and succeeds—presenting something a bit off center which builds on established 4E mechanics but pushes the game’s boundaries.

Michael Furlanetto continues to spin up engaging ideas for 4E, and his article on Hoard Magic doesn’t disappoint. Perhaps builing on the idea of magic item sets and detailing how the collected wealth of a great dragon can take up an arcane power of its own, he shows that there’s not only room for unusual and nontraditional magic in 4E, but the system does it very well. This is one idea I’m scooping up for later on just for the pure cool factor.

Finally, the article I thought better than the paladin feats, the magic perfumes, the alternate codes of honor, or the middle-class magic items—which were all rich grist for a GM’s creative mill—was Jeff Tidball’s article on Moral Choices That Matter. He talks first about crafting genuine ethical dilemmas that evoke emotion and push characters into making hard choices, and then goes on to discuss how to make consequences with depth and importance. It’s not a long article, but laser precise and packed with enough roleplaying explosive to change your game’s landscape. You can bet this is one piece I’ll be copying and putting into my design binder.

And while these four stars shine brightest, the whole of the issue continues to build on the reputation of what we’ve come to expect from Kobold Quarterly—a well edited and gorgeously produced magazine that promises to deliver an envelope full of awesome with each season. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—you’ll find KQ is worth every penny. Now if we could just get those kobolds to go bi-monthly!


WOW

*****

I finally got my hands on this issue and the first word that came to my mind was … WOW. Although Kobold Quarterly has always been considered the spiritual successor to Dragon magazine, issue 14 truly hammers this home. As I paged through the issue, I honestly felt like I was paging through a new issue of Dragon, even more so than with previous issues. It’s just that good. The production value, the writing, the layout, the content … everything is turned up to 11.

The Ecology of the Tengu was an interesting read and James Jacobs’ Tengu in Golarion was a very nice touch!

There are a number of very good articles for paladins and Monte Cook’s piece was excellent as always.

Ed Greenwood’s article on creating memorable characters is great – a must read!

I also was very interested and intrigued with the new Advanced Feats article. Can’t wait to see what come of this down the road.

The Reign of Men article was very interesting – there are certainly some ideas that will be finding their way into my games. Oh, and a special shout out to Joe Slucher’s excellent illustrations – very well done!

Honestly, I could go on and on and list each article – I even read through the 4E stuff (which I do not play) and found plenty of ideas worth stealing! The bottom line? This is a great issue. If you have been on the fence regarding Kobold Quarterly, or you’ve just never gotten around to checking and issue out … THIS should be the issue that makes a believer out of you!

I can’t wait to see how Wolfgang and company top themselves for issue 15!


Another Excellent work

****( )

And it keeps getting bigger and better.

KQ 14 is full of content, and this one seems extra Pathfinder heavy, with a bit of love for Dragon Age. The fact that the magazine mixes articles from our hobby's "elders" (quotes since any more they aren't much older than I) and newer voices just shows how forward thinking keeping the print magazine alive is.

P.S. If you want to see more 4.x 3.x PFRPG true 20 etc, start submitting!


Blew me away

*****

I'd been avoiding Kobold Quarterly, as I'd gotten tired of people telling me how good it was. But there it was at GenCon, and I submitted to the urge to pick it up.

Boy am I glad I did. KQ14 is the only issue I've read, but it really blew me away.

First, the bad. There are some grammatical/spelling/proofreading errors, and 20% of the articles and adventures didn't do it for me at all. That latter bit isn't really a criticism - no magazine this size would do it for anyone 100% - but it should be said.

Now the good. Lots of articles really inspired me. I'll highlight four.

I wish I'd thought of that! (New material category): Perfumes of Bourgund. How is it that (non)magical perfumes haven't played a bigger role in D&D until now? Really clever take on a historical topic, with cool game applications.

I wish I'd thought of that! (Rethinking category): The Reign of Men. Another historical take, this complete with an inversion of a fantasy trope in a way that works extremely well.

Best design: Hoard Magic. Great use of the fact that the treasure rules are balanced against level in 4e (and 3e/PFRPG, for that matter) to use treasure to tell a cool story. The leading question - why do dragons hoard treasure - had never occurred to me, and now I can't imagine why it never did. Too bad this one wasn't dual-statted in PFRPG, although it should convert pretty easily.

Deepest thoughts: Moral Choices that Matter. This should be in every game mastery guide out there. It could just as easily have been written about Dogs in the Vineyard as Dragon Age, but whatever the system, any group wanting to tell a memorable story should heed this advice.

Overall, this was a great issue. Now I've got to start plowing through the back catalog to see if it's been this good all along.


Small but Mighty

****( )

This was definately the best one so far. There is literaly something for everyone in this issue. I've started to get very antsy and irratable when it's almost time for my Kobold Quarterly to show up. I haven't been like this since the '80s when I was waiting for my Dragon Magazine.


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The Exchange Kobold Press

Back from Gen Con and the first thing I see about the new issue is a 5-star review! There's 96-pages of goodies in this one, meaning that it is as long as a Pathfinder Adventure Path --- at less than half the price!

Lots to enjoy here, but I'm also open to criticism. What do you all think of the newest, biggest KQ yet?


I loved the Pathfinder setting content! I'd like to see more stats of novels down the line, both to promote Pathfinder Tales and to more easily incorporate new elements from them into my games.


Love it. Even though I'm not into 4E I can still find plenty of inspiration from the 4E articles. I also like seeing characters from novels statted out, as it really shows how you can use the system to capture a character concept. Sometimes in ways you wouldn't have thought of yourself.

The article on alternate Paladin codes is a great type of article too, because its purely edition neutral.

p.s. I stopped by the booth at Gencon and hand't gotten my email to you soon enough to have my copy picked up there. It arrived in my mailbox Monday!

The Exchange Kobold Press

I love it when the kobold mail carriers are efficient. :)

I'm also a fan of statting up some characters from novels, and I think Paizonian James Sutter did an excellent job with Radovan. I hope to see more like that for Pathfinder Tales, or for other books. Any that someone would like to see?

Oh, and before I forget, some cool free Pathfinder stats for rooster, crane, and seagull tengu on the award-winning KQ blog today.


drkfathr1 wrote:
The article on alternate Paladin codes is a great type of article too, because its purely edition neutral.

Hi drkfathr1, glad you liked my article :-)

I love editionless stuff like this (although in this case I'm horribly biased), not least because I can come back to it for reference whether I'm playing Pathfinder,4e, OD&D, or any game featuring pirates, swashbucklers, vikings, or martial artists. If the Code of the Viking section struck a cord with you, then we'd love to see you over at Frozen Empires: Glories of the North [/author's shameless plug].

- Dan


yes...I need to get over there. I loved Sunken Empires, and in my own homebrew I've neglected the north a bit...so inspiration is needed!


drkfathr1 wrote:
yes...I need to get over there. I loved Sunken Empires, and in my own homebrew I've neglected the north a bit...so inspiration is needed!

Plenty to inspire, I promise... and plenty of opportunities for you to add your inspiration to our corner of the north, too!


What happened to the Pathfinder Swordmage that was in the early ads for this issue?

Is it the upcoming Magus that made you say forget it?

Dark Archive Contributor

By far the best part of the magazine, in my objective opinion, was the warm review of Prince of Wolves. My only complaint is that James chose Charisma as Radovan's dump stat. What the hell is that about? :)

Seriously, I love Kobold because it evokes the fun of the early days of Dragon while remaining contemporary.

The Exchange Kobold Press

MerrikCale wrote:

What happened to the Pathfinder Swordmage that was in the early ads for this issue?

Is it the upcoming Magus that made you say forget it?

Yeah, that was placeholder text on a mockup cover somewhere, but the Magus does make me think it might not be a great idea. Why run a KQ bladesinger/gish/swordmage when Paizo is doing the official one in 7 months or so?

Anyway, I've got an editorial meeting tonight where we talk about that one AGAIN. The fact that the article just won't die is a point in its favor, but also super-annoying.


Wolfgang Baur wrote:
MerrikCale wrote:

What happened to the Pathfinder Swordmage that was in the early ads for this issue?

Is it the upcoming Magus that made you say forget it?

Yeah, that was placeholder text on a mockup cover somewhere, but the Magus does make me think it might not be a great idea. Why run a KQ bladesinger/gish/swordmage when Paizo is doing the official one in 7 months or so?

Anyway, I've got an editorial meeting tonight where we talk about that one AGAIN. The fact that the article just won't die is a point in its favor, but also super-annoying.

i would love to see some more martial classes or perhaps a Pathfinder Noble class if that means anything to ya

Liberty's Edge

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
MerrikCale wrote:

What happened to the Pathfinder Swordmage that was in the early ads for this issue?

Is it the upcoming Magus that made you say forget it?

Yeah, that was placeholder text on a mockup cover somewhere, but the Magus does make me think it might not be a great idea. Why run a KQ bladesinger/gish/swordmage when Paizo is doing the official one in 7 months or so?

Anyway, I've got an editorial meeting tonight where we talk about that one AGAIN. The fact that the article just won't die is a point in its favor, but also super-annoying.

Heh ... just imagine how supremely bummed the author was when Paizo announced the Magus a few months after he had already submitted his article! ;)


Marc Radle wrote:
Wolfgang Baur wrote:
MerrikCale wrote:

What happened to the Pathfinder Swordmage that was in the early ads for this issue?

Is it the upcoming Magus that made you say forget it?

Yeah, that was placeholder text on a mockup cover somewhere, but the Magus does make me think it might not be a great idea. Why run a KQ bladesinger/gish/swordmage when Paizo is doing the official one in 7 months or so?

Anyway, I've got an editorial meeting tonight where we talk about that one AGAIN. The fact that the article just won't die is a point in its favor, but also super-annoying.

Heh ... just imagine how supremely bummed the author was when Paizo announced the Magus a few months after he had already submitted his article! ;)

you?

alright, I've changed my mind. Publish the Pathfinder Swordmage. Marc's ranger rocks I wanna see his gish

The Exchange Kobold Press

His ranger did indeed rock. The editors got through 80% of the slush pile for #15 last night but.... I think I'm getting off-topic here.

KQ#14 has a lot of Pathfinder treasures, class materials, and official content like the Radovan stats and the like. I'm curious to hear what your favorite Pathfinder article was, and whether any of the Systemless articles were of interest (interview, Monte Cook's column, etc).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Monte's column is always a 'must-read' and the first thing I read.

The Exchange Kobold Press

Part 2 in the Tengu Obsession series is now up, expanding on the Ecology of the Tengu from this issue.


OH, I also liked the article by Monte. Had some really good points that made me think on my own campaigns. Sometimes the purely random "sandbox" style can be alot of fun.

I've kind of neglected random encounters for years now, and think I need to introduce them back into my life!

I also liked the Healing Hands article with the feats that add to the Paladins Mercies. Seemed very well balanced and make a nice addition to the standard.

Haven't made it all the way through yet, so I can't comment on Ed Greenwood's article, but I did skim the article on designing Feats, and I found it to be very informative. Makes some good points that I think alot of folks would benefit from. Especially those considering writing for 3PP.

I found the interview with Rob Hiensoo to be interesting and informative. Very interesting to see some of the process behind the design of 4E and the things he wish he'd done differently. And nice to see an admission that the release of 4E led to some elements of the game being rushed. That kind of candor from one of the 4E designers was quite refreshing.


Wolfgang Baur wrote:
I'm curious to hear what your favorite Pathfinder article was, and whether any of the Systemless articles were of interest (interview, Monte Cook's column, etc).

you have to ask if there is interest in a Monte Cook column? really?

Your magazine I think strikes a good balance between PFRPG and 4E along with a nice selection of systemless stuff. I have noticed some Dragon Age RPG content. I like that. I havent bought the game but I'm thinking about it.


I totally think you should print the Swordmage conversion. I was really, really looking forward to this, and to not do it now would really *insert colorful expletive here*.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

I really like that the magazine contains a wide array of articles. I like that you represent different systems and particularly enjoy the systemless articles. Keeping the content open like that paves the way for fans of all games to get support for their favorite, be it Pathfinder, D&D, Dragon Age, M&M, CoC, Mouseguard, or even Dogs. Having other content is also good because it turns folks onto things they might not have tried.

Keep it up, Wolfgang!

Liberty's Edge

Bladesinger wrote:
I totally think you should print the Swordmage conversion. I was really, really looking forward to this, and to not do it now would really *insert colorful expletive here*.

LOL, no need for colorful expletives!

Not to worry, I think we have to trust Wolfgang and company over at Kobold Quarterly Central to do what they feel is right for the magazine and its' readers. I was certainly really bummed at first, since I put a huge amount of work into the class BUT I also respect Wolfgang a hell of a lot so I was able to come to terms with the class not running in this issue with a minimum of anguish and tears - HA HA (oh, and by the way, it's a new base class, not a conversion). I haven't picked the new issue up yet but it sure sounds like it has tons of great stuff in it!

And who knows, the class just might see the light of day yet ... :)


if the decision is to not put it in the mag, can we see it on the website?


MerrikCale wrote:
if the decision is to not put it in the mag, can we see it on the website?

Oh, I think some genius will pick up what Marc did and get his work out in one form or another. :D

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Brilliant!

The Exchange Kobold Press

Yep, I have no doubt that if it doesn't make it into the Fall issue, the Super Geniuses will be all over it.

But we're kinda off-topic. I'm still curious about KQ14. It's by far the largest issue we've ever done. In fact, it's bigger than KQ #1 and #2 put together.

Is the sheer size good? Does it feel like an amazing deal to get an extra 32 pages or so for the same price? We worked very hard to pull it off, but I haven't really heard any one say "Yeah, more is always better, duh".

Maybe small is beautiful?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

More is not always better but I personally think #14 is a really nice size. I was in fact a little surprised by its heft when I pulled it out and started glancing through it. I haven't had a chance to read all of it (my son has it at the moment) but I liked what I saw. :)

Also, I appreciate that this cover did not cause my wife to give me dirty looks like the green god's cover did. She really, really, was not happy with that particular cover. I must admit, her feelings aside, as someone with kids who like to read their Dad's gaming books, I prefer "heroic" themed covers or "monster" themed covers to covers that are designed to be more provocative.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Small is beautiful, but a bigger issue every now and then is great!


I think the size was nice, because for example, I don't really need the 4th edition articles, but there is enough of both, that fans of both systems have enough material to enjoy. I liked the issue, and I will continue my sub as long as the quality continues.

As for content, i think you have a good mix. The articles I am enjoying the most right now: Are the ones featuring discussion on role-playing games, information about the hobby, from the prominent names like Monte.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
Wolfgang Baur wrote:

Is the sheer size good? Does it feel like an amazing deal to get an extra 32 pages or so for the same price? We worked very hard to pull it off, but I haven't really heard any one say "Yeah, more is always better, duh".

More isn't always better. If you can maintain this amount of quality each time though, that is decidedly better. As a subscriber, I feel I have already gotten my money's worth out of this year's renewal.

Liberty's Edge

Getting a bigger issue of KQ is NEVER a bad thing!!! I also agree that the issue walks that line nicely of Pathfinder vs 4E content with system neutral material to round things out. A larger issue just means there is even more of that balance to go around!

If you can maintain the larger page count, I'll bet it even attracts new subscribers - it's pretty hard to argue the value for the price!

Can't wait to get my copy of the issue!


I wish small was beautiful but my wife always says bigger is better

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

I have this slightly odd habit of thumbing through magazines back-to-front the first time through. When I saw Corey's beautiful map inside the back cover, I knew this was going to be an exceptional issue.

There is some terrific stuff in here. Thanks for expanding the page count. It just seems to go on and on with more good stuff on each page.

Hmm, my sub must be coming due soon. I'll have to make sure that's taken care of.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah I think #14 is the last issue of my current sub. I'll be remedying that asap.


Wolfgang Baur wrote:

Yep, I have no doubt that if it doesn't make it into the Fall issue, the Super Geniuses will be all over it.

But we're kinda off-topic. I'm still curious about KQ14. It's by far the largest issue we've ever done. In fact, it's bigger than KQ #1 and #2 put together.

Is the sheer size good? Does it feel like an amazing deal to get an extra 32 pages or so for the same price? We worked very hard to pull it off, but I haven't really heard any one say "Yeah, more is always better, duh".

Maybe small is beautiful?

Well done is beautiful, and KQ is that. With 32 more pages, that's just more beautiful. Thanks, indeed.

Liberty's Edge

I really enjoyed the issue myself... Tengu are a favorite of mine, so that was very nice. Due to the mail gods loving irony, I got this in the mail the same day as Prince of Wolves, so seeing the stats for that really enriched my experience. I LOVED the codes of honor, and the magic items, especially the Scoundrel's Gambit. The increased size was a real plus.

Count me as a Yay for seeing the swordmage... I love new base classes, and the concept sounds solid. Personally, I'd be thrilled to see Wolfgang adapt his Assassin base class from the Assassin's Handbook for Pathfinder here someday too.

Liberty's Edge

Stark Enterprises VP wrote:


I really enjoyed the issue myself... Tengu are a favorite of mine, so that was very nice. Due to the mail gods loving irony, I got this in the mail the same day as Prince of Wolves, so seeing the stats for that really enriched my experience. I LOVED the codes of honor, and the magic items, especially the Scoundrel's Gambit. The increased size was a real plus.

Count me as a Yay for seeing the swordmage... I love new base classes, and the concept sounds solid. Personally, I'd be thrilled to see Wolfgang adapt his Assassin base class from the Assassin's Handbook for Pathfinder here someday too.

I agree - the Prince of Wolves content is a great idea! I think a lot of people are very excited for the new Pathfinder line of fiction (I know I am!) so having the additional Prince of Wolves content sounds great!

Dark Archive

anyone else getting a HTTP 500 internal server error at www.koboldquarterly.com? did someone forget to pay the electric bill?


Soliloquies wrote:
anyone else getting a HTTP 500 internal server error at www.koboldquarterly.com? did someone forget to pay the electric bill?

Same message. No idea why. Hopefully they'll be back up soon.


They are up.

The Exchange Kobold Press

The trouble with steadily increasing traffic at the KQ blog and forums is sometimes the server falls over.

Thanks for the feedback on the mega-summer-size issue. I sorta suspected people didn't mind more-for-the-same-price but.... Well, the motto is still "Small but Fierce".

Liberty's Edge

Marc Radle wrote:
Bladesinger wrote:
I totally think you should print the Swordmage conversion. I was really, really looking forward to this, and to not do it now would really *insert colorful expletive here*.

LOL, no need for colorful expletives!

Not to worry, I think we have to trust Wolfgang and company over at Kobold Quarterly Central to do what they feel is right for the magazine and its' readers. I was certainly really bummed at first, since I put a huge amount of work into the class BUT I also respect Wolfgang a hell of a lot so I was able to come to terms with the class not running in this issue with a minimum of anguish and tears - HA HA (oh, and by the way, it's a new base class, not a conversion). I haven't picked the new issue up yet but it sure sounds like it has tons of great stuff in it!

And who knows, the class just might see the light of day yet ... :)

I ordered my copy of this issue today. In the mean time, I was able to get a good long look at a friend's copy and ... Wow! This issue might be the best one yet, both from a quality and size standpoint!

It even made me go and order a copy of Prince of Wolves!

Really well done!

The Exchange Kobold Press

Thank you!

The credit for the improved list goes entirely to Crystal Frasier, the new layout artist for the magazine. She cranked things up a notch or three.

The Exchange Kobold Press

Um, wow: another 5-star review for KQ #14, and from a skeptic, no less!

I appreciate both the pros and cons mentioned here in the Paizo review, and the impression from someone entirely new to the magazine. Thanks, JBfort!

Liberty's Edge

I finally got my hands on this issue and the first word that came to my mind was … WOW.

Although Kobold Quarterly has always been considered the spiritual successor to Dragon magazine, issue 14 truly hammers this home. As I paged through the issue, I honestly felt like I was paging through a new issue of Dragon, even more so than with previous issues. It’s just that good. The production value, the writing, the layout, the content … everything is turned up to 11!

Great job!!!

Dark Archive

Thanks for the great reviews, everyone!

JBFort, while everyone was off at GenCon, a web enhancement for the "Hoard Magic" article - converting it to OGL/PFRPG - was posted at koboldquarterly.com. You can find Part 1 and Part 2 behind the links. Glad you enjoyed the article!

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