Pathfinder, Volume 3: City of Secrets (Paizo.com Exclusive)

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The Pathfinder heroes head to the city of Magnimar, and danger isn't far behind. As the wizard Ezren seeks an audience with the Pathfinder Society, his adventuring allies explore the city's ancient magic, well-hidden secrets, and deep political divides. The dangers and opportunities of the big city could bring the adventurers closer together—or tear them apart! Ezren ambushed, Kyra targeted, Merisiel tempted by her past... will the group endure?

With a captivating story written by Jim Zub (Samurai Jack, Skullkickers) and explosive artwork by Leandro Oliveira, this third volume in the Pathfinder graphic novel series expands upon the mythos of Paizo's award-winning fantasy world, fiction line, and tabletop RPG.

Collection Features:

  • Pathfinder: City of Secrets issues 1-6 by Jim Zub
  • All 31 beautiful covers by Genzoman, Carlos Gomez, Sean Izaakse, Steven Cummings, and Steve Ellis
  • 39 pages of encounters, characters, and world detail for the Pathfinder RPG
  • An all-new, removable poster-map of the region explored in the comic
  • And more!

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A Solid Continuation as the Adventure Heads to Magnimar

4/5

NO SPOILERS

"City of Secrets" is Volume 3 of the Pathfinder comic series. It collects the eponymous limited series and includes dozens of pages of back matter, including variant covers, sample NPCs, encounters, and more. If you liked the previous volumes in the series, you'll be happy with this one as well. It's not spectacular, but it's solid fun.

SPOILERS

With the previous two volumes taking place in Sandpoint and its hinterlands, the action moves squarely to Magnimar for Volume 3.

Issue # 1 actually starts with the Iconics (Seoni, Valeros, Harsk, Ezren, Merisiel, and Kyra) on board a ship that's arriving in the so-called "City of Monuments." There's a gorgeous two-page spread showing the city from their perspective, which is definitely something I'd steal the next time I had PCs arrive in Magnimar via ship. The Iconics split up to go on various errands, with Ezren speaking to Venture-Captain Sheila Heidmarch in a bid to become a Pathfinder, while Harsk eventually finds his way to a public park in a funny scene. Valeros gets his drink on alongside Seoni at the Old Fang tavern, while the main plot starts with Merisiel accompanying Kyra to an old shrine of Sarenrae after hearing rumors that followers of the goddess have been murdered on the streets. It's a fun, fast-paced opening.

In Issue # 2, we see Merisiel offered membership in a criminal gang called the Gallowed--there's conflict between she and Kyra about it, and the event ties into the special issue that was included at the end of Volume 2. Anyway, alongside Magnimar's City Guard, the Iconics plan an ambush for the killers stalking devotees of Sarenrae--it's another exciting issue.

The ambush plan fails spectacularly in Issue # 3, as the assassin uses silence spells to foil Kyra's and Seoni's plan, and a gargoyle aids in her escape attempt! The best scenes, however, are Ezren being set upon my mysterious thugs and ending up captured. The action scenes are really well done, and an improvement from earlier volumes.

In Issue # 4, the Iconics track the killers into the catacombs under Magnimar and are set upon by wights! The killer is revealed to be an evil cleric of the demon lord Shax named Avalexi. Meanwhile, Merisiel continues her flirtation with the Gallowed, but there's an excellent cliffhanger where her initiation test is to kill Ezren!

Issue # 5 starts with a big battle between Avalexi and her gargoyle versus four of the Iconics. Seoni casts enlarge person on Valeros, which leads to some fun visuals. Although the gargoyle is killed, Avalexi escapes to join some creepy dude named Thulgroon who is behind everything. Meanwhile, Merisiel choosing Ezren over the Gallowed isn't exactly a surprise, but it's still a fun rescue scene. The issue ends on another cliffhanger, as there's a doppelganger of Ezren trying to infiltrate the Pathfinder Society!

The volume concludes with Issue # 6, in which Ezren's doppelganger (faceless stalker, to be precise) tries to kill Sheila Heidmarch. Fortunately, the real Ezren and the other Iconics arrive in time to safe her. It turns out there's a conspiracy in Magnimar involving the Gallowed and others, led by this Thulgroon dude: who, in a fun twist, is a Veiled Master (a kind of super-aboleth that have been manipulating events on Golarion for millenia).

I may have overused the exclamation marks in my summary, as, according to my contemporaneous notes, the storyline is "average" and the comic is overall "okay." Elements of the plot are closely based on a Free RPG Day module titled Dawn of the Scarlet Sun, so it may be familiar if you've read or played through that adventure.

On the artwork front, it's pretty good--easy to see who's who and what's happening, and the colouring continues to improve. The only odd bit is that there are faint horizontal lines running throughout the art, almost like it was printed on a textured parchment--it's a bit weird and distracting.

On to the back matter. The usual variant covers take up a lot of pages but are rather bland and forgettable compared to the hilarious homages found in previous volumes. Of better quality and more interest are the series of 2-4 page entries on various encounters, NPCs, or places in Magnimar. These include:

* A two-page overview of Magnimar, a page of which consists of a map of the city showing its various districts. There won't be anything new here if you already have information on Magnimar from other sources, but, if you don't, it's worthwhile.

* A two-page overview of The Old Fang, a tavern in Magnimar's Dockway district that could serve as a home for PCs. It includes a write-up of an NPC named Ol' Mam Grottle--I used her and the location briefly in my Rise of the Runelords game and they worked out fine.

* One-page entries (with stat blocks) of Lord Mayor Grobaras and Sabriyya Kalmeralm, the so-called "Princes of the Market." These are very useful.

* An encounter set in Underbridge involving a warehouse full of dire rats and wererats--it's pretty generic stuff, and something that any GM could throw together in 5 minutes. Not really necessary, with the only redeeming feature some intriguing ties to the Derro.

* Five pages on Serpent's Run, Magnimar's huge arena. This was really well-done, as it goes over various events held there, including several that PCs could potentially participate in. In addition, it provides stats for the "Champion of the Arena" in case a gladiatorial match is to the players' liking. Entries like this really make the comic worthwhile to me, as they help to flesh out locations and NPCs.

* An encounter against some faceless stalkers in Magnimar's sewers. Not much interesting or imaginative here, even though I did work it into a session.

* A brief overview of various Sczarni gangs in Magnimar along with an encounter. It's okay.

* A brief overview of the Summit district and an encounter set at a private garden party. I appreciate that there are variations given for different CRs, but they all boil down to: "a monster attacks."

* A sort of spoof encounter, "Comic Store Invasion," in which the PCs have to protect a comic book store attacked by goblins. There's a few chuckles to be had..

* Interspersed throughout the entries above are one-page NPCs sent in by readers. It's a little like something you'd find in the NPC Codex. The artwork and backstories (although brief) are nice, and it's always good to have some extra NPCs available. I haven't seen this done for any other volumes of the comic, but I liked it.

Overall, Volume 3 is solid. The storyline isn't amazing, but it is entertaining if you like the characters and the setting as much as I do. The backstory is more hit or miss, but if you do plan to run games in Magnimar, there's some very useful material.


Liberty's Edge

Is the special not included in this volume?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Oh no, the heroes failed their Fortitude saves against Young Blood's Disease!

The Exchange

Will a PDF be made available at some point?

Scarab Sages

How is it a Paizo.com exclusive if it's already on Amazon.com here?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Tilquinith wrote:
Will a PDF be made available at some point?

There have not been pdfs in the past, but I would (greatly) like one as well (and the other hard covers/comics).

Duiker wrote:
How is it a Paizo.com exclusive if it's already on Amazon.com here?

This is the Paiso exclusive cover. The Amazon one is the normal cover (which is also on sale here).

-Doomn

Community Manager

Digital versions of the comics are usually available through Comixology.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Sorry if I should be able to tell but does this hard cover contain issues #13-18? It says 1-6 but "City of Secrets" is 13-18.

Thank you.

Grand Lodge

They restarted with #1 when the did City of Secrets, just like Origins started with #1 again.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Gotchya...Thanks Andrew.

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