Vathak Times, Issue #3 (PFRPG) PDF

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The Vathak Times is a short 4 page PDF done in the style of a newspaper for the Shadows over Vathak setting for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game System. Each issue is packed with "articles" that present a variety of easy content to add to your Shadows over Vathak game session. Along with a variety of setting content, you also receive new traits, feats, spells, creatures, npc descriptions, adventure hooks, and what ever else we can fit into this pint-sized supplement!

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Better than #2, though plagued by minor glitches


The third issue of Vathak Times is 5 pages long, 1 page being devoted to SRD, leaving 4 pages of content, so what do we get?

As in the first two issues, we kick off this issue with a letter from the front describing the ongoing battles between the lands of Vathak and the dread spawn of the Old Ones, also featuring a new feat which allows the user to add bonus damage to their mounted charges. Whether this damage is also multiplied when used in conjunction with e.g. spirited charge, though, is not specified - we need this information/clarification.

On the second page, we get again 3 local news/adventure hooks to pursue as well as an article on suddenly incited attacks by animals and druids turning up dead - well-written, that one, though the supplemental disease Mind Fire and its rabies-like simple template, while cool, suffer from some editing glitches.
A further article is all about a collection of weird scrolls that have been found, which per se makes for a nice expanded hook, though the associated spell provided feels a bit disjointed from the article. Sir Timothy's Emporium sells a really cool alchemical item this round - silver smoke, which sickens creatures weak to silver and helps overcome their DR. Nice one!

The beautifully illustrated CR 6 Bone Gorger, a huge disturbing undead, finally makes for a cool critter to round out the issue.
Editing and formatting are good, though not as concise as in #1, but better than in #2. Layout adheres to the b/w-2-column standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. The artwork, as mentioned, rocks - especially for the low price. Vastly superior to the ill-fated issue #2, Vathak Times #3 is more concise and well-thought in presentation, more concise in its writing and offers some actually rather cool ideas. While not reaching issue #1 excellence due to aforementioned feat-glitch and minor editing issues make it impossible for me to rate this 5 stars - I'll instead settle for 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 due to the fair price and nice ideas.

Endzeitgeist out.


So, third issue of Vathak Times...ready? Let's do this, shall we? The same 5 page primarily dual column layout that we have seen from previous installments in this series, and at now the third installment I think it it is safe to say that the series has a defined set look, as far as what to expect from each PDF added to the series. This I say as a good thing, so don't get that mixed up, it's kind of nice to know that Page one will give me a letter from the front lines, while I will find the recent news reports from around the lands on page 2, and the Emporium's advertisement on page 3 is something I have come to find myself going to first, just to see what item they have “On Sale” this week. This also, again, really helps in the immersion concept of being able to potentially print out the first three pages of this periodical and hand it to your players as an in-game prop if you so wished. I say the first three as the last two contain a new monster and the OGL, and handing over the mechanics on new creatures is just shooting yourself in the foot as a GM lol.

So, what do the Vathak Times have for us this time? Well, our letter from the front lines details the advancement deep into territory that saw some pretty heavy fighting previously in this ongoing war. Upon a battlefield littered with the remains of the dead our letter writer and his unit encounter this installments creature, the Bone Gorger. A huge burrowing critter that is both worm, and not...with an insatiable appetite.

Amongst the letter we are graced with the name of the hero who slew the beast they encountered, via a feat presented here, the Iron Lance Charge. Providing game mechanics for a mounted lance wielder to do some serious damage at the cost of AC, this feat could easily see some serious usage amongst the right players. Well designed and logical, I liked this one, a lot.

News From Across the Lands gives us hooks for three different locales, with a freak rock slide killing a group of men involving a crumbling statue dedicated to the Old Ones, a jailbreak that takes place during a scheduled hanging that leaves witnesses from the crowd dead and a handful of the jailers themselves incarcerated and under investigation. But the winner this time around in my opinion has got to be the annual appearance of what are known as “Arko's Wisps”. Tiny, like the size of a copper coin, lights that float, in groups ranging from 30 or more and cause burns when touched. They appear with enough specificity annually that the town has a curfew in place and treats it as part of the calender essentially...and that is really cool. We have seasons and weather and holidays and fairs and such to decorate our fantasy calenders, but this, this is one of those things that really helps remind you that even in a made up fantasy world there are “things” that are part of the natural order, and they happen regardless of anything else. Think of it this way, as long as the rivers are there, every year salmon are going to swim upstream. Why? Because they do. These lights struck me as the same thing...every year, for whatever reason a GM decides to run with, these lights appear. And that is pretty cool, period.

Mindfire, a disease brought on by drinking tainted waters contaminated by aberrations and their nests, is presented not only as a disease with mechanics, but with a template to apply to creatures, and with an excellent piece of fluff that just continues to really help flesh out this setting and draw the reader deeper and deeper in. And in case your wondering, mindfire reminds me of rabies in regards to its effects.

Sir Timothy Charles's Emporium is all prepared to help those suffering with lycanthrope and were attacks this week, as in answer to a rise in such activity they have placed all werewolf hunting gear by 25% until the end of the month...yes, I stopped reading at that line and found myself smiling. That is the type of immersion I am referring to. That is the feel of a living campaign setting this product goes out of its way to achieve. The Emporium's item of the week is Silver Smoke, a powdered silver that can fill the air of an area causing instant damage to those with a DR to silver, giving a serious advantage to those who hunt and fight were-cursed creatures.

An article detailing the finding of a vast collection of scrolls gives a look into the history of the world upon which this setting is based, and invokes some pretty cool images and thoughts. The spell Lashing Sickness causes negative energy to shoot from the casters fingertips, doing doing negative energy damage as well as sickening its target. The connection between the spell and its lead in story is vague, and more implied than stated, but any GM worth their salt should be able to make the connections.

Which bring us to the monster entry for this installment. The Bone Gorger...or perhaps the Ghoul Worm. I am going to assume this beast, at some point in it's design evolution was known as a ghoul worm, as there is still mention of the name within the flavor text for the creature. Not a huge issue, but amusing. critter, cool new item, really cool disease story accompanied by a template, extremely useful feat for those players pulling the lance routine...which brings me to the other side of the coin. And this is pretty nit picky, really. There were a few occurrences of the whole “it's its” mix up. Now, if that's all I can find to whine about, folks that's pretty impressive in all reality.

Which brings us the rating, a solid 5 stars, and well worth the price of admission folks!

Review up, some real treats in this one guys, well done!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

And again - nice review KTFish7!

Reviewed here and sent to GMS magazine. Couldn't post my review on DTRPG since I have the subscription and the individual issues require that you purchase them individually to rate them there. Cheers!

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