Pathfinder Tales: Blood of the City

4.10/5 (based on 16 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: Blood of the City

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Heroes for Hire

Luma is a cobblestone druid, a canny fighter and spellcaster who can read the chaos of Magnimar's city streets like a scholar reads books. Together, she and her siblings in the powerful Derexhi family form one of the most infamous and effective mercenary companies in the city, solving problems for the city's wealthy elite. Yet despite being the oldest child, Luma gets little respect—perhaps due to her half-elven heritage. When a job gone wrong lands Luma in the fearsome prison called the Hells, it's only the start of Luma's problems. For a new web of bloody power politics is growing in Magnimar, and it may be that those Luma trusts most have become her deadliest enemies...

From visionary game designer and author Robin D. Laws comes a new urban fantasy adventure of murder, betrayal, and political intrigue set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

400-page mass market paperback
ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-456-6
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-457-3

Blood of the City is also available as a digital edition on the following sites:

Blood of the City is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle sheet and additional rules are a free download (229 KB zip/PDF).

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Average product rating:

4.10/5 (based on 16 ratings)

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What's left to be said...

5/5

Do yourself a favor, like me, read In the Event of My Untimely Demise by Robin D. Laws before reading Blood of the City. It will add a bit of spice to the flavor of the story.

Mr. Laws I enjoyed the ride, learning about Luma and seeing Magnimar through her eyes. I look forward to the next story!


Cinematic and just a bit Spaghetti Western

5/5

This is the tale of a “Cobblestone Druid,” named Luma Derexhi. She is the eldest daughter of the Derexhi family, a family that specializes in providing protection for others in the city of Magnimar. Luma is a member of the “Top Squad,” a party of her siblings that act as a sort of special forces group in the city. Robin Laws has, once again, written one of the best adventuring parties in the Pathfinder Tales line. Each party member is an individual and has good reasons for taking the actions they do.

The book starts out as a mystery that Luma is investigating, and then changes over to a revenge story for the final half of the book.

Revenge spoiler:
The revenge story aspect left the same taste in my mouth as a spaghetti western. I was melancholy because the hero gets revenge, but revenge does not make her happy. I feel that this makes for a good ending, despite the melancholy.

One of the neat aspects of this book that I enjoyed was seeing how a PC might perceive the process of gaining a level and the new powers associated with it. It was well written, and did not require knowledge of game mechanics to “get it.” Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the return of Hendregan, the mad fire sorcerer from The Worldwound Gambit. He is an interesting character and I would be interested in seeing him develop more as Mr. Laws writes more books in the Pathfinder Tales line.

-Aaron

Edit:Upon further consideration and in the process of a second reading, I have decided to up my review to five stars. This book is in my top three of the Pathfinder Tales along with Plague of Shadows and Death's Heretic.


Rider Beware

4/5

The story of Luma, the main character, treats the reader gently in the beginning, much like a roller coaster working up a steep initial incline. For me, just like a roller coaster, the plot twist at the top of the incline shot me into a fast moving story full of thrills. I did, however, put the book down at the top of the incline and in the end, felt the ride missed a few opportunities. Overall, however, I found this book a solid entry into the Pathfinder novels line.

Spoiler:

I put Blood of the City down because I was enjoying working up the first initial steep incline of the roller coaster. I was looking at the landscape around the roller coaster and enjoying the view. Specifically the city of Magnimar really jumps to life in this book, not only through Mr. Laws’ written description of the city and the various quarters, but also via Luma, who is a cobblestone (urban) driud. Mr. Laws’ treatment of the cobblestone druid’s connection to the city is creative and engaging and helped me form a vivid image of Magnimar. The portrayal of Mayor Grobas as an intellectual, yet political beast, resonated with me. The description of Luma’s druidic powers, and how she interacts with the city, are an excellent transformation of game mechanics into a cohesive fantasy reality. I also enjoyed seeing the hallmarks of a good mystery in the works. I enjoyed the contrast of Luma’s relationships as one of the Derexhi family, where she gets little respect, versus how the Derexhi’s coordinate so well in combat.

Then the top of the roller coaster, a plot twist I felt was the most significant one, came while I was still looking at the view. As the story launched into a corkscrew I called time out and put the book down. After a day I realized Mr. Laws had hooked me and had reached what I can only surmise was his objective for the first part of the book. I realized I needed to pick up the book and ride on. Once I began reading again I finished without getting off the ride again. The details of Magnimar, and the inhabitants, continued to be spectacular as the ride accelerates to the end. The twists and turns of the ride are packed with action and definitely create a sense of urgency with a few small horizontal pieces of track to allow you to catch your breath and unfold another layer of the mystery. In some scenes I was rooting for the supporting characters with such passion that I mentally warned Mr. Laws to not mess with my expectations or I would again put down his book. In almost all instances I found myself nodding in satisfaction.

What I missed after picking up the book again was the same level of investment in Luma. I could not get emotionally attached after having to step away from the book. Additionally, the Shoanti play a role in the book, however I was not emotionally moved by the resolution of their role even though I got invested in their story. For me, Mr. Laws could have spent a few more pages here and made a powerful, moving scene. Lastly, I didn’t buy into the overall antagonistic motivation. I may have expected more in this regard, however, because I read some of the fantastic ideas in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Magnimar, City of Monuments product. In contrast, Mr. Laws motivation seems plain. I do not hold the technical errors in my electronic copy of the book against Mr. Laws but encourage Paizo to please not make these types of unprofessional mistakes again.

Mr Laws does a fine job of resolving everything he started, leaving everything I wanted as a reader resolved. I recommend buying a ticket on the Blood of the City ride, but beware, the first drop is a doozie.


Pros & Cons

4/5

The descriptions and details of the main character's powers both add to the game setting emersion and slow the pacing of otherwise action packed scenes. There are also times when a character or two seem to go into great detail about their assumptions of the goings on despite their limited knowledge of the overall picture. It would help if the thought process of these characters were detailed a bit more.

Other than these critisms this book is filled with awesome action packed sequences, tug at your heart strings emotional moments, and witty banter that make this yet another must read for the Pathfinder Tales line. Resistance to put it down requires a DC 20 Will save.


A Fabulous Read

4/5

Like the previous review, I can't say too much because to do so would spoil the fun. Regardless, Blood of the City is a fabulous read. The presentation of how magic and spells are used, especially the Cobblestone Druid (Urban Druid from Adv. Player's Guide), breathes a sense of fresh air into what is often formulaic spell descriptions.

Also if you ever plan on running or playing a Pathfinder game in Magnimar, the descriptions of the city are marvelous.

I rated it 4 stars because the one thing that annoyed me was some poor editing (a couple of wrong words used) and in the digital verson, some formating issues (like a comma in the middle of a word).

But this is the second Robin D. Laws book I have read in a week and have enjoyed every minute of it.


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Dark Archive

Jhaeman wrote:
Chapter 8 is titled "The Hells". I don't think the location features prominently elsewhere in the book, if memory serves.

I should specify, does this feature the first 6 levels or the last 3?


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I don't remember anything along the lines of a discussion of different levels. I don't think it was extremely detailed about what the Hells is like, if you're looking for flavour for using the location in a game.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Belabras wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Sooo, does this book feature Hells a lot? .-.
Nope. To date none of the books have dealt much with the Hells. Redemption Engine is the only one I can think of that does.

There's a prison in Magnimar called The Hells, is what they're talking about :3


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

The few pages about the hells is nothing deep or unique. Could have been a prison in any city of golarion, really.

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