Pathfinder Legends—Rise of the Runelords #3: The Hook Mountain Massacre

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Pathfinder Legends—Rise of the Runelords #3: The Hook Mountain Massacre

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When communication is lost with the Black Arrow rangers of the distant garrison at Fort Rannick, the mayor of Magnimar dispatches Ezren, Merisiel, Valeros, and Harsk to investigate.

As a storm brews over Hook Mountain, the adventurers find the fort ransacked and the Black Arrows massacred. Were they betrayed by one of their own, or are the local ogre clans preparing for war?

With rising floodwaters threatening to destroy the town of Turtleback Ferry, Ezren, Merisiel, Valeros and Harsk must face their destiny high up on Hook Mountain if they are to stand against the ancient evil returning to Varisia.

Pathfinder Legends audio dramas adapt the world and characters of the best-selling Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Each episode runs about an hour and features a cast of professional actors, sound effects, and music that immerse you into the dangerous and exciting world of Pathfinder!

Audio Samples


Download Lucrecia sample (451 KB MP3/zip)

Download Mammy Graul sample (553 KB MP3/zip)

Download ogrekin sample (124 KB MP3/zip)

Download stone giant sample (210 KB MP3/zip)

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****( ) (based on 2 ratings)

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Solid Effort

****( )

NO SPOILERS

I've written about how these audio adaptations work in earlier reviews, so I'll cut to the chase more here. The voice acting remains great, as do the sound effects. Given the lack of narration, it's still hard to visualize what's happening sometimes, especially in the action scenes where you just hear a lot of grunting and clanging of steel. Below, in the Spoilers section, I discuss some of the plot changes that were made. For the most part, I think the adaptation succeeds. Once you know what you're getting (a roughly one-hour "stage play" and not a full "audiobook"), these become more acceptable (though still pricey).

SPOILERS

There are some interesting plot changes for the audio adaptation of The Hook Mountain Massacre. After listening to the previous two Rise of the Runelords adaptations, I was prepared for some cuts: here, there's no Shalelu or her step-father subplot, Fort Rannick is almost completely abandoned (instead of filled with ogres), no attack on Turtleback Ferry by Black Magga, and there's no detour into the Shimmerglens (or the resulting Lamatar Bayden subplot). What I wasn't expecting is that some story elements would be added. First, there's a lot more of Lucrecia in the audio adaptation then in the written version, and the addition works really well to help tie-in the "meta-plot" of the entire Adventure Path. She encounters the heroes not just at Fort Rannick, but also on top of the dam (in a really cool, cinematic battle) and has well-written dialogue that helps explain some of the "behind the scenes" storyline. It becomes clear, for example, why the ogres are trying to destroy the dam (something that has remained a mystery for the PCs in my RotRL campaign). Second, Kaven Windstrike is given a more prominent role and a redemption storyline that sees him sacrificing himself at the dam! I was less impressed by this change, and I think it came across a bit cliche. Apart from the actual additions, it's clear that the script writer took the time to become really familiar with the AP so that little details could be added to make the storyline more coherent. Overall, I thought the audio adaptation did a nice job of handling the chapter and (now that I have a better idea what to expect from these), I find myself looking forward to the next one.


Another great installment from Big Finish!

****( )

Seeing as how the other issues already had reviews and high-star ratings to go with them, I've decided that episode #3 needs a review, too.

In The Hook Mountain Massacre, the Pathfinder Legends line of products continues on its path of excellence. As with all the episodes of the story, the voice acting is superb and the characterization of Ezren, Harsk, Merisiel, and Valeros is pretty much exactly as I imagined those characters. There are times when the party banter feels a bit forced, especially some of the bickering between Harsk and Valeros, but overall, I like the dynamics of the group...they feel like an adventuring party.

This particular episode was a rather daring one, given the notorious reputation of the content in the adventure path. The ogrekin of Hook Mountain are particularly nasty. Big Finish managed to include a good amount of the grossness of those creatures without turning the episode into a full-fledged horror story a la "The Hills Have Eyes", which I'm pretty sure was one of the inspirations for this part of the Runelords tale.

I think the only significant weakness of this installment, which is shared by all of the current Pathfinder Legends episodes, is that there is a bit too much reliance on the listener to already know the story being told. I have listened to them with those who haven't read the adventure path issues, and they sometimes had difficulty figuring out what was going on or why things were happening. It would be good to have a bit more explanation, either through narrative or character interaction. I realize that it's difficult to "show" and not "tell" in an audio drama, but weaving more clarity into the motivation and action would improve an already good thing.

One way to help fix that would be to increase the length of each episode, which is something I hope we'll see when Paizo and Big Finish get around to releasing the next set of Pathfinder Legends recordings. Production of an audio drama is obviously different than that of an audiobook, so cost comparison isn't necessarily reliable, but considering that you can purchase a digital copy of an unabridged book with a duration of 8 to 12 hours and read by a fairly notable actor for $25, I don't think it's too much to ask for each episode of the Pathfinder Legends to be extended to 2 hours for the $13 price.

Despite that minor issue, I definitely hope to see more recordings soon, and strongly encourage fans of Paizo and Pathfinder or even just fans of audiobooks or audio dramas to get all six installments of Pathfinder Legends: Rise of the Runelords.


Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available for preorder! Digital versions and subscription information will be forthcoming.


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

The series just keeps getting better.


Yes, these are fantastic. I love the narration provided by Ezren. That really helps paint a picture of what's going on. I was a little put off by the vocals of the ogres. They just sounded too human. Overall, I can't wait for the next download in this series! I hope Big Finish creates more Pathfinder Legends.

Webstore Gninja Minion

Added sample files.

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