Wayfinder #15 (PFRPG)

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Wayfinder #15 (PFRPG)

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Created for Pathfinder fans by Pathfinder fans, this fifteenth issue of the ENnie Award-winning Wayfinder fanzine heads to the frontiers of the River Kingdoms! This free fanzine includes dozens of articles, including original fiction, new monsters, adventures, classes and options, magic items, and even PFACG scenarios—this is just a small portion of what awaits you!

Contributing Authors: Charlie Bell, Landon Bellavia, Charlie Brooks, Russ Brown, Dixon Cohee, Chuck DiTusa, Matt Duval, Robert Feather, Benjamin Fields, Aaron Filipowich, Nikolai Geier, Spencer Giffin, Amy Goodenough, Garrett Guillotte, Bran Hagger, Kiel Howell, Dana Huber, Joe Kondrak, John Laffan, Thomas LeBlanc, Jeff Lee, John Leising, James McTeague, Jacob W. Michaels, Brian Minhinnick, Tim Nightengale, Mark Nordheim, Kelly Pawlik, Matt Roth, Jeff Sexton, Elliot Smith, Kendra Leigh Speedling, Jeffrey Swank, Ian Turner, Brendan Ward, Steven Lloyd Wilson, Alexander Wreschnig, and Scott Young.

Contributing Artists: Becky Barnes, Catherine Batka, Darran Caldemeyer, Snow Conrad, Jeremy Corff, Liz Courts, Andrew DeFelice, Jess Door, Lynnette Fetters, Silvia Gonzalez, Michael Jaecks, James Keegan, Chris L. Kimball, Adam Koča, Danny Hedager Krog, Alberto Ortiz Leon, Mike Lowe, Dio Mahesa, Dave Mallon, Jesse Mohn, Dionisis Milonas, Alex Moore, Beatrice Pelagatti, dodeqaa Polyhedra, Basil Arnould Price, Tanyaporn Sangsnit, Kristiina Seppä, Carlos Torreblanca, and Todd Westcot.

Cartography by Liz Courts and Alex Moore
Front Cover Art by Dionisis Milonas and Carlos Torreblanca
Foreword by Neil Spicer

Wayfinder #15 is a 80-page full-color PDF suitable for printing or viewing on your computer. It is released under the Paizo Inc Community Use Policy.

This fanzine uses trademarks and/or copyrights owned by Paizo Inc, which are used under Paizo's Community Use Policy. We are expressly prohibited from charging you to use or access this content. This fanzine is not published, endorsed, or specifically approved by Paizo Publishing. For more information about Paizo's Community Use Policy, please visit paizo.com/communityuse. For more information about Paizo Publishing and Paizo products, please visit paizo.com.

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*****


An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

This magazine from fans, for fans, clocks in at 84 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 78 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Well, first, before we do...let me ask you why you're still reading this instead of downloading this right now. The Wayfinder magazine is FREE, costs absolutely ZILCH and contains evocative, unique material. Even if you don't play Pathfinder, the excellent artwork tends to make the magazine a great download to just print out and use the art as handouts. So yes, I do believe that you should download all of them right now.

That being said, while I usually don't do (much) reviews of FREE products, I was asked by my patreons to review this - so there you go, ladies and gentlemen, prioritized on your behalf.

We begin this pdf after an introduction with 3 archetypes crafted by Jeff Lee: The Seelie Proctor arcanist, the Seelie River Pilot ranger and the Troll Hunter slayer. The seelie proctor gets a modified spell list and replaces a spellbook with a familiar and instead of 3rd level's exploit, teh archetype gains +2 to saves vs. enchantment as well as scaling DR/cold iron, with 5th level providing a ward that can fortify against the tricks of the fey. The river pilots also gain a modified skill list and also a modified proficiency list and is locked into the two-handed weapon style. The archetype is particularly adept at spotting things in the water and extends the favored terrain bonuses beyond their usual benefits. 4th level nets the option to use polearms to grapple foes and hold them at bay - this ability's pretty impressive! The troll hunter can quickly draw and apply alchemist's fire and acid and preemptively counter-AoO attacks executed via natural reach, with higher levels mitigating the penalties of dealing with larger foes and suppressing regeneration. All in all, cool archetypes - and since Jeff Lee is the author, I'm not that surprised here; he has a track record of quality work!

If that wasn't ample clue - this issue's theme would be the River Kingdoms. The next article deals with race-specific poisons, crafted by John Laffan: Here, we have poisons that only affect fey and gnomes...but also a kind of drug that is a blend of halfling pipeweed that can calm the user...per the calm emotions spell. The spell is not properly italicized and the effect lacks a spell level for interaction with magic etc., to nitpick that one. The duality of poison/drug is further explored in orcish war drugs, hellgate sap etc. - all in all, I like this chapter for the idea of drug/poison duality (and we need more of those fantastic battle drugs), but balancing is pretty off: Hymbria's joy, at only -1d4 Wis and 1 hour duration, allows for d20-rerolls for any such roll during the duration. This means atk, saves, skill-checks...for 420 Gp, that is hardcore underpriced. Oh, and the addition DC at 13 is very low as well. Nice ideas, not sold on the execution.

In the classic weal or woe column, Jacob W. Michaels provides Honit Quaedel, a changeling spiritualist 6 and Chittri Drenchfur, a ratfolk kineticist, both with full stats and artworks that will drop your jaw; we're talking about 1st-party-quality that could potentially be straight from a Paizo or WotC-book; Tanyaporn Sangsnit's art knocks it right out of the park for both NPCs and provides great aesthetics for two well-crafted NPCs.

Now, the obeisance mechanics introduced in Inner Sea Gods are pretty intriguing, but haven't yet seen wide support. The next article, penned by Matt Duval, does provide evangelist, sentinel and exalted boons for adherents of Gyronna and Hanspur - both of which come with more than thematically fitting options. Power-level wise, they similarly are neat - no undue complaints here.

Next up would be a short story by Benjamin Fields, lavishly depicted in Mike Lowe's signature and very unique style in another aesthetic high-point - both visually and from the craftsmanship of the prose - kudos to the author and artist!

Next up would be an article after my tastes - veteran Thomas LeBlanc delivers an excursion on the fantastic flora and fauna found in the river kingdoms, with mosswater gecko skins, dumb psykoleet birds that can double as soulbound puppets, bog wires - the section is inspired, fun and evocative and bereft of issues. Two thumbs up for perhaps the most easily scavenged article herein!

Jacob W, Michaels' chosen sovereign paladin archetype don't have to be good and replace smite and detect evil with a symbol of authority that can be used to duplicate domain powers of the chosen deity a limited number of times per day. On a nitpicky side: The ability implies a duration for the abilities, which is nice for non-instantaneous durations; however, at the same time, speaking of duration for such may be problematic; limiting the ability to non-instantaneous effects from the get-go would have prevented that. At higher level, the archetype gets followers and may apply magic planar traits a limited number of rounds on her surroundings - this is very powerful, considering that we have dead and wild magic here. Additionally, the ability fails to specify whether the changed planar traits apply to the character as well; usually, they probably wouldn't precedence-case wise, but considering how the effect changes planar traits, I don't know.

The next chapter deals with an alchemical substance, bonesteel brine, that can render bone, chitin, etc. hard as steel as well as a permanent, wondrous version. Bone weapons usually cost half as much as their steel equivalents, with the permanent unguent clocking in at 2, 500 gp. GMs should do the math here, for while this does not necessarily cause issues in most games, it very well may cause problems in some games...particularly considering the ramifications beyond the immediately obvious - siege weapons, ships, etc. And yes, I actually like the visuals, but still, as a reviewer, I need to mention that.

Robert Feather provides to river kingdoms anthems (sung to "Pastures of Plenty" and "This Land is Your Land" -and particularly the latter really cracked me up! Two thumbs up here! Kendra Leigh Speedling introduces is to the everbloom monastery, mapped in full color by Alex Moore, featuring places of interest and notable persons as well as a proper settlement statblock - kudos! Were this a commercial publication, I'd ask for nomenclature, local clothing, rumors and sample events, but as far as free is concerned, I really enjoyed this nice drag and drop environment.

Landon Bellavia goes on to provide 4 scaling magic items (using the Pathfinder Unchained rules) that include a guild dagger, a palette that somewhat hearkens back to the classic 3.X Gallery of Evil module in aesthetics, if not in effects, eel-armor and a belt that enhances your physical prowess. The art provided by Carlos Torreblanca and Snow Conrad for 2 of the items is excellent - particularly the palette is gorgeous. As for the rules - I generally like the intent of the items, but I wished they were a bit bolder: The benefits granted are pretty conservative. More unique effects would have been nice to see here.

Nikolai Geier, Aaron Filipowich, Brian Hagger, Chuck DiTusa, Dixon Cohee and Scott Young provide adventure seeds for your perusal in the next article - and honestly, a GM can never have enough of those. Spencer Griffon provides 6 new regional traits for the river kingdoms (with proper bonus type in all cases but one) as well as 3 feats: One is a pretty bland +2-type of feat, but the other two are more interesting and help you by providing 1/day freedom of movement tied to your oaths and code and the other allows you to add numeric benefits to ONE spell with verbal components for a kind of specialization. The traits are more intriguing than the feats here, but they are worth being checked out.

Garrett Guillotte, also no stranger to the tender ministrations of my reviewer's pen, has 3 archetypes for us: The repossessor brawler is particularly adept at tracking down objects once owned by other persons and may smack those attempting to Bluff/intimidate them for a significant bonus on counter Intimidation as well as nonlethal damage, with 5th level improving disarm and allowing for the removal of e.g. hand or wrist slot items via disarm a limited amount of times per day - basically the thug-way as opposed to the stealing way. Makes sense. The road judge cavalier represents the traveling, who may 1/day daze those in hearing range with a shout and a blending of challenge and confess. Beyond that, we also get a new order for the archetype that can counter silence (not properly italicized here), traverse difficult terrain and later severely punish oathbreakers. I *really* love this archetype - it would work just as well in a historic or rare/no-magic setting regarding its flavor. Two thumbs up! The low roads gunslinger gets a modified deed-list that emphasizes defensive shooting, ranged sunder and a means to generate a standoff at higher levels, with mechanically feasible rules to supplement the concept - and yes, this is design-wise more difficult than it sounds. All in all, a solid, nice array of archetypes. Speaking of gunslingers, Elliot Smith has another, nice short story for us here.

The next article provides us with Lazlo's Ferry, another settlement with notable NPCs, sites of interest and settlement statblock - and much like aforementioned monastery, it is an evocative piece, though this one does not have a map of its own, which constitutes a slight detriment. Chuck Di Tusa's prose is neat, though, and Tanyaporn Sangsnit's artwork once again is STUNNING. James McTeague provides a short ACG adventure next...and I honestly can't judge it. I never got into the card game. Sorry.

Jeff Lee is up next with a selection of magic items to be found within the river kingdoms - 3 to be precise: We get the cursed water of Gyronna that can taint the water supply of whole kingdoms; there is the halberd nakar's fang that can grow barbs, trading accuracy for bleeding damage and there would be the artifact, lavishly rendered by Carlos Torreblanca, the scepter of the river kingdoms - this powerful item can not only help the wielder with various SPs, it also can ensure that contracts are heeded...something more than desirable in the tumultuous political landscape of the river kingdoms. Kudos!!

Jeff Sexton and Ian Turner introduce the alchemedic, who may dilute and share mutagens ...and gains bonus extract slots for conjuration (healing) extracts and the archetype may also increase the mundane healing tricks. A whole array of healing supplementing discoveries that build on healing bombs and the like can be found in this article as well - and generally, I like the idea and much of its components, though there are some minor hiccups in the rules here and there. Still, considering the breadth covered, not a bad job!

Unique little cultural vista: Amy C. Goodenough and Brandon Ward provide a lore-only look at the ratfolk of Canboulon in an all too brief article before Jeffrey Swank has 4 more items for us: The first of these would be a crone's hat that can be used every 1d4 +1 rounds to emit a cackle that deals AoE Str-damage (OUCH!) -this is imho underpriced at 12K considering its additional properties and probably should have a 24-hour-caveat akin to hexes. The disguise self referenced in the item is not italicized, as a nitpick. There is also a button that can emit bad luck, a trident that can impale on critical hits and a jack-o'-lantern that can animate particularly nasty undead. All in all, a solid article.

Dixon Cohee takes us on a brief echo wood exploration log before Thomas LeBlanc provides a small side-trek encounter with kingdom boons for the resolution. Kendra Lee Speedling has a taldan fighter(swordlord)/aldori swordlord and a river rat rogue NPC for us in another neat weal or woe NPC-array.

Music suffuses Matt Roth's article: It deals with bardic masterpieces - 7, to be precise: A Dance Through the Fishponds allows for dueling dodges, AoE ferocity, allowing water breathing creatures to remain on land, better poison use - the masterpieces here generally feel like they are worth the exchange and feature the sense of the evocative I like to see in them. Nice work!

Charlie Bell's article may not be the most flashy - but I am pretty certain it will be among the first I use. Why? Two words: Sample armies. There is a veritable dearth regarding armies and army stats in PFRPG and from Daggermark elite assassins to scrags, this delivers. Thank you! And yes, if you're playing kingmaker: Aligned with places like Uringen etc. NICE. Oh, and it does have a new army tactic, a new resource (keelboat) and new special abilities. So yeah - neat indeed!

Slightly spooky: Spencer Griffin's Dicide and Conquer article features a nasty CR 5 haunt as well as a magic item in two variants that interacts with the kingdom building rules. Cool article. Kelly Pawlik of dire rugrat publishing provides a brief tavern sketch here as well, with the cozy Hut, a tavern situated near the Sellen river - including 8 nice rumors. (And if you like Kelly's style, check out her very affordable pdfs!)

Next, Dana Huber provides a neat piece of lore with her "Song of the Sellen", a traditional tune, before Kiel Howell introduces us to the personal srcivener's guild, in a fluff-centric look at an interesting organization - one that I wished was longer. After that, Charlie Brooks takes us on a horrific little short story with "Matters of Faith" , before Garrett Guillotte's 10-level reformer PrC is next.

The reformer must worship a deity and have at least 5 levels, gaining 3/4 BAB-progression as well as 1/2 Will-save progression and 6+Int skills per level. The class needs to maintain deific obedience on a daily basis, but does gain better skills and may even generate deviations from established doctrine and progressively higher boons, culminating in a gnostic schism - think about the PRC as basically the secret agent version of Martin Luther. Interesting, though I wished it was less focused on the sometimes clunky deific obedience mechanics...that's not the PrC's fault, though.

Of course, such a massive book needs spells, right? Well, Alexander Wersching and Brian Minhinnick are here to oblige with 8 new spells - they are neat, though I have an issue: I have read at least 3000 third party spells; probably more, but 3K are what I can definitely state; I've seen the concepts before. That doesn't make these bad, mind you - it just means I'm a spoiled rotten bastard reviewer. ;)

Steven Lloyd Wilson has a nice lore article for us next, namely one that deals with cuisine magic - I enjoyed it as one of the often overlooked aspects of fantasy roleplaying, though I wished it used cuisine magic (see Flaming Crab Games' pdf) to supplement specific, unique dishes.

Spencer Griffin is not yet done - not by a long shot - in another collection of magic items, we get 14 magic items, though their focus is novel in that they specifically are designed to interact with the kingdom building rules - and I love them for that. Can we have more of them, please? Two thumbs up!

The pdf does contain even more NPCs - a tiefling bard/ranger and an aasimar rogue/assassin in a nice twist of the clichés, supplemented by neat artwork by Beatrice Pelagatti. After another short story, this time penned by Matt Roth, we come to a sidetrek adventure penned by none other than Tim Nightengale, intended for 5th level. Within the Embeth forest, there seem to have been some disappearances and the PCs are sent forth to investigate, pitching the PCs against a neat blend of fey, plant creatures and something rarely encountered...what? I'm not spoiling that!

Part II of my review can be found in the product discussion here. See you there!


Time for TemplateFu to Review!

*****

Time for another in depth review methinks. I tend to blow the review box limit as I do review in depth each article, so expect this review to overflow to the comments.

The review is posted as I work through the issue, so you may have to come back every few days to catch the next posting.

One thing I did notice straight away is a lot of new talent in this issue, lots of new names and contributors. I wondered if this is because a lot of the prior contributors are now working as formal freelancers – which is a great tribute to a community magazine that is successfully opening the doors to writing and art provision for so many. Well done Wayfinder!

To reviewing I guess… off we go then...

Cover
The cover art leaves no doubt to the theme of this issue, welcome to the River Kingdoms where river banditry and piracy run rampant. The background image is totally on theme and made me wonder if Wayfinder should adopt the old dragon/dungeon provision of the cover image inside the magazine as a full page art without all of the offending overlays and texts. This image is one I would have liked like that. The iconic character pose could be a river warden or a bandit and is very much depicted in the now standard Paizo cover themes.
Art: 9/10

Forward
Neil Spicer, Superstar Champion, and Designer, Developer, and Contributor to many products for both Paizo and Legendary Games provides us an insight into the content ahead. He shows a great love for, and knowledge of the River Kingdoms. The forward forms an excellent breakdown of the issue content, so much so that writing this review will be aided greatly. The artwork, a goblin taking a bath with bath time toys is amusing and sets a nice light tone for the introduction to the issue.
Article: 9/10, Art: 8/10

Of Magic and Mettle: Archetypes of the River Kingdoms
Our first article of the issue introduces a selection of archetypes to us...

Of Magic and Mettle: Seelie Proctor (Arcanist Archetype)
From the name, I deduce that it is likely fey related.

The term Seelie means happy, lucky or blessed when referring to fairies, the opposite, Unseelie, refers to vengeful, spiteful, misfortunate or unholy fairies.

The term Proctor refers to an officer or invigilator at universities and institutions of higher learning. So… I expect a happy professor who leads fairy-dom . Did I get it? Kind of, it had more to do with protection than leadership so the name for me is a little off base but not wildly so.

One kind of neat and unusual aspect that caught my eye as a GM and as a player is replacing the spellbook with a familiar. This left unanswered important questions though - if the familiar dies, have you lost all the spells it stored? And if the familiar replaces your spellbook, is the intent that you cannot use a spellbook at all?

The archetype also suffers from a common problem in archetype design - it is replacing abilities that make an arcanist an arcanist, effectively losing arcane exploits in the trade off.

This archetype has no representative art piece.
Archetype: 7/10, Art: n/a

Of Magic and Mettle: Sellen River Pilot (Ranger Archetype)
Well, the name is pretty clear on this one and we all know what to expect. I probably wouldn’t have included the Sellen as part of the name as that is indicative of an implied restriction - river pilots could be found on any river, and so for wider appeal, I would not name a river in the archetype name.

The archetype trade off makes sense, in the most part, removing dungeoneering related skills and replacing them with riverside and boatmanship skills. I didn't like replacing wild empathy though - for me, this is one of the ranger defining skills and is useful even in river environments.

This archetype is represented by a monochrome art of a female river pilot. (Aside: I didn't understand why the bird in the picture is shouting "Corn!" in "common"). I didn’t like the monotone shade filling the line art and would have preferred plain white and black line art to allow me to color it with my pencils myself.
Archetype: 8/10, Art: 7/10

Of Magic and Mettle: Troll Hunter (Slayer Archetype)
Again, a simple but effective archetype name – we all know what to expect here.

This archetype also suffers slightly from the feeling that those things that make a slayer a slayer are being lost. It didn’t “feel right” that the slayer received a reduction on their sneak attack die pool, or that they lose their ability to stalk prey. This concerned me a little more when one of the higher powers was based on sneak attack die, the pool of which was reduced by an earlier power.

This archetype has no representative art piece.
Archetype: 7/10, Art: n/a

Of the three archetypes, the river pilot was by far the most versatile and interesting archetype of the bunch, but each is eminently suitable for River Kingdoms play.
Article: 8/10, Art: 7/10

Pick Your Poison: Race-Specific Poisons from Daggermark
A nice short article providing seven new poisons that can be used in your campaigns, each with a very distinct River Kingdoms flavor.

I did wonder about the durations on some of the poisons, because when you multiply the maximum duration with the effect, some of the poisons become real PC killers. As an example, 1 d4 has an average of 2.5 statistically. So six rounds means an average impact against the affected statistic of 15!

So you only have die rolls slightly above average and target Constitution to have a real PC munching poison. Also consider affects that are deadly in the normal game tend to have daily saves rather than per round to allow an affected PC a chance to seek help as they grow weaker and weaker.

The poisons are all very flavorful, but I strongly encourage each GM to review the duration and save DC of each in relation to the power level of their game.

The artwork is that of an inanely grinning goblin – I think it has sampled one or more of these poisons.
Article: 8/10, Art: 8/10

Weal or Woe: River Kingdom Gods
My initial impression from the title was to expect some minor deity ying-yang at war sort of action. This wasn’t exactly what I got, but what I did get, I really liked.

The weal NPC, a worshipper of Hanspur, provides a varied roleplay encounter for the PCs perhaps even a romantic interest should one of the PCs convince the spirit of her half-orc husband that they are worthy of her.

The artwork supporting this NPC is quite simply stunning – I love artwork that implies grace and a lot of movement, swirling capes, and swashbuckling overtones and this does that in spades.

The woe NPC, a kineticist ratfolk, was also intriguing with a plot hook of fighting natural disasters rather than the NPC themselves. Should the PCs end up in combat against this ratfolk, the clever selection of powers and abilities should catch them by surprise indeed.

A found the artwork for this NPC amusing, reminding me of when my hamster would tell me off – sad I know, but it is just “cross hamster” through and through. I think it’s the facial expression that does it – I love it.
Article: 9/10, Art: 9/10

Gods of the River Kingdoms: Obediences to Gyronna and Hanspur
This article should definitely be partnered by GMs with the weal and woe just reviewed. This article fleshes out the lesser deities Gyronna and Hanspur, specific River Kingdom deities. It provides evangelist, exalted and sentinel boons for followers and how they should demonstrate their obedience to each diety. The Hanspur obedience is one of those grey areas of role-playing games where you often have to detail uncomfortable subject matter in order to remain true to good vs evil.

The accompanying artwork is dark, moody and disturbing, showing the act of obedience for Hanspur, the act of drowning a living being. This made me a little uncomfortable knowing that Wayfinder does get into the hands of the younger audience. I think I find it worrysome as it is not an act against the forces of evil but is an inherently premeditated act of evil itself.

I think on reflection I would have preferred the art to have been weal based rather than drawing attention to this less comfortable aspect of the content. But that’s just me. The art itself is well done and makes excellent use of lighting to promote the right mood.
Article: 8/10, Art: 8/10 – This does not include my personal reaction, that would be unfair.

The Peerless Karel Horvoska
As a GM of some many years standing, I have often wondered about how gods of beer should be portrayed, and I have probably committed about every trope and meme out there in the process. For this reason, I was absolutely delighted and surprised by how cleverly Cayden Cailean, the Drunken Hero, was interwoven into the devious plans of a desperate hero to reclaim a lost love from a rival who had stolen that love away through unfair and foul means.

I won’t spoil the plot any more than that other than to say the ending was satisfying and the whole was well written and superbly paced. This is going to be my very first 10/10 for a short story. Well done Benjamin – write more please.

The artwork, oh my gosh, Cayden’s rendering immediately made me think of Porthos and the Three Musketeers and the hero of the story might just as well be D’Artagnan albeit with an almost Eastern flavor to his dress. I am so putting this onto my printer, enlarging it and coloring this one in. It is truly detailed and delightful. Yes, it has happened, both article and art scoring maximum points together!
Article: 10/10, Art: 10/10

River Kingdoms: Fauna and Flora
This next article looks at typical vegetation and small animal life found in the River Kingdoms. I particularly liked the Parsuria Vine and the role play and devious uses it promotes. For the small creatures, I think my favorite is the small bird called a Psylokeet. This was also chosen for the accompanying art, but the art has is dominated by a female human and not the bird itself. I would have preferred a more detailed close up of the bird, maybe perched on a hand (so that scale can still be determined), but no more distraction from the focus of the piece than that.
Article: 9/10, Art: 7/10

Chosen Sovereign: A Paladin Archetype
Now we have a paladin archetype. It is nice to see the ideal of a paladin being stretched from the atypical lawful good into the realms of a holy warrior supreme of any alignment following the tenets and decrees of their chosen deity. The general theme of this archetype is very much enthralling those nearby into their beliefs, and at higher levels are extremely good enforcements of a right to rule. This archetype screams to be used by the GM for those leading a local community. The artwork is almost stained glass window in feeling, but something felt a little off. I eventually realized that it was the almost suspicious sideways glance that feels at odds with the kneeling pose of obedience or submission.
Article: 8/10, Art: 8/10

Bonesteel Brine and Unguent
Next up are a couple of items, one wondrous and one alchemical. Let is start with the alchemical one, the bonesteel brine. It is an alchemical substance that when applied to a weapon or suit of armor, imbues that item with greater resilience than it would normally have. My only real issue with this item is describing it as a liquid – liquids are runny and so it conjures the wrong image of a salve to be applied to a weapon or armor. Maybe it should have been referred to as viscous oil or even as a salve. The wondrous item, bonesteel unguent, offers the same benefits as the alchemical item, it just allows it to be created by arcane means rather than alchemy.

This duplication felt too much on the same page, and I think personally, I would have had just the one item, preferring the magical item name and the use of unguent rather than liquid. The magical item could have allowed an alchemist to create it without needing to be an arcane caster simply by specifying this in the construction section.

I also felt a bit let down by the art here, it shows a dagger freshly coated in the unguent but I feel an opportunity was lost to show something more intricate (maybe a crystal dagger, or one that is of ornamental nature) being enhanced for combat use.
Article: 7/10, Art: 6/10

Woodsy’s River Kingdoms Anthems
Next we have some poetry and songs for your bard to perform. I personally don’t know the songs quoted as the inspirations here but really appreciate their mention – this allows me to look them up and maybe listen to a rendition or two on youtube and similar. I also think poems and songs written to the meter of existing real world songs is a great aid to the imagination for both the GM and the players, a very wise move.

The second one, The Land That Sings To Me, is the most amusing and most entertaining of the songs. How often do you encounter a poem using the word miscreant?! The artwork is a very pleasant tavern scene, showing a bard taking applause from his gracious audience after performing these songs. The bard is standing in some sort of light beam, almost spot light like, I am guessing from a skylight in the ceiling based on the light’s angle, which would make this tavern quite unusual indeed.
Article: 8/10, Art: 8/10

Golarion Gazetteer: Everbloom Monastery
Now we have a nice article about a monastery and the village that grew around it, the Everbloom Monastery of the title. This is a great example of expanding on a mention in a Paizo product, taking that hook into greater detail. For those interested, the monastery is mentioned in Guide to the River Kingdoms as the hiding place for the rulers of the associated realm – which is expanded upon again in this article but the queen is missing from the notable inhabitants section!

My only issue with the general placement is that it shows the monastery is built on a rise above the approaching road providing it with good defense, however the village is not behind the monastery and protected by it, it is on the lower ground at road level. I personally would move the village, or at least the noble / important houses, to the rear of the monastery benefitting from its protection. I would have lower ground set aside for farming. But that’s just me.

Speaking of the map, it is beautifully drawn and clearly labelled. The monastery is as large as the village if not slightly larger, so in both art and article, it is definitely represented as a major pilgrimage site for the area.
Article: 9/10, Art: 9/10

Scaling Magic Items in the River Kingdoms
Now we have some magical items with a difference, items that scale in power with their owners, utilizing the rules from Pathfinder Unchained. The four items are quite diverse, but I think my favorite, purely for visuals, is the Mivon Eelskin. I just love the idea of a slinky shimmering armor molding to the wearer’s movements – for me this is a really strong visual, and instead of large bulky scales, we have the wonderfully minute scales of the eel.

For accompanying art, we have two pieces representing two of the four items. The first is a very nicely rendered dagger with a substantial blade. The second one representing the magical artists palette, with a riot of color representing the paints upon its surface.
Article: 8/10, Art: 8/10

Hmmm, 15,339 characters (2,682 words), no room for the next review item without breaking it across posts, so the remaining review items will be found in the comments. As promised, this link takes you to the first post that continues this review in the comments tab.


For Cutthroats and Kings Alike

*****

I submitted an article to Wayfinder #15, but it didn't make it into the final product. I was disappointed at first, but when I read the installment I realized why my entry didn't make the cut: the quality of this issue's content is some of the best I've seen in the series to date.

Although it's difficult to capture the diversity of the River Kingdoms in fewer than 80 pages, Wayfinder #15 avoids falling into the trap of becoming a fanzine focused exclusively on Daggermark, Tymon, or any of the area's noteworthy locales. Most of the material within applies to the entire region, ranging from the flora and fauna of the Sellen River to the Kingdoms' two unique faiths. Low-cost consumables, particularly poisons and alchemical equipment, make up most of the new items available, though PCs will also find archetypes and feats to help them survive in the rough-and-tumble province. Tons of descriptive content provides GMs with tools to make the River Kingdoms come alive, from anthems of the river folk to NPCs and destinations to flesh out the local way of life. The fiction within is engaging and heartbreaking, with many short-stories reminding readers why life in the lawless riverlands tends to be brutal and short.

Perhaps the best material, however, supplements the Kingmaker Adventure Path and other kingdom-building campaigns. One archetype will easily appeal to players hoping to conquer the Stolen Lands, and every side trek and sample encounter provides GMs with ways to freshen up the AP's exploration components. This issue is a must-have for anyone playing Kingmaker with experienced gamers, or for GMs re-running the campaign and hoping to shake things up.

I look forward to every installment of Wayfinder because the quality and ingenuity of Paizo's fan base never ceases to amaze me. Whether you already own issues 1-14 or you're just learning about the fanzine now, Wayfinder #15 will remind you just how much talent and brilliance the Pathfinder community can muster.


Another excellent set of articles!

*****

Finally finished reading Wayfinder #15 (the electronic version, since I couldn't make it to PaizoCon to get a printed copy... :(

Once again, the all-volunteer Wayfinder team has put together an excellent round-up of material. This issue focuses on the River Kingdoms, an area of Golarion so diverse you could run a dozen campaigns there and never have the same setting. It's a rich area, especially for characters and stories that are slightly over the line of the law (vigilante, anyone?). It's also the region where the Kingmaker Adventure Path is set, making it an essential resource for GMs running that campaign.

There are literally too many articles for me to review them all, but here are some highlights.

* Crunch: there are new archetypes, poisons, and a set of obeisances for two very flavorful deities worshiped mostly in the River Kingdoms (Hanspur and Gyronna). Throw these against your players as they pass through the ever-shifting river network for some nasty (yet not overpowered) surprises. Magical items (including some that scale with character level) and even new special materials are to be found as well. Bardic masterpieces, friendly (or not) NPC stat blocks... there's just so much that's ready for a GM to use as-is or as inspiration for their own campaign.

* Lore: (I refuse to use the term "fluff" for something so central to the game's feel!) To me, this is the best aspect of Wayfinder - you get dozens of creative takes on areas of Golarion that can be dropped into your campaign with almost no effort. Often, the Paizo products give an intriguing sentence or a few words of "hook"; in Wayfinder, some great Golorian scholars have fleshed those out into fully-developed encounters, NPCs, stories, or adventures - or created them out of whole cloth to fit seamlessly into the campaign. Here, you'll find tavern songs and anthems of the River Kingdoms, and a fully-designed tavern to sing them in, as well as explorer's journals and gazateers of various locations throughout the Kingdoms. Short fiction pieces help flesh out various areas of the lands, and provide NPC personalities that I've pulled into my games on more than one occasion.

Wayfinder 15 is one of the best ones yet, in my opinion. Some really great work by lots of great contributors, and the core Wayfinde team that puts it all together. Plus... it's free. Seriously. No reason to not download it and immerse yourself in one of Golarion's most varied and soggy regions.


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RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Thanks Liz (I assume!). Can't wait to gander at the beauty of this magazine...especially a certain guild I may have contributed :)


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

\o/


It's here! w00t!


Hooray! I've been waiting for this. So excited to be included and a big congrats to everyone else who is in this issue. It looks beautiful :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The art in this issue is really amazing.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.

<cough>reviews please when you get a chance.<cough>

And I think I have broken my record for speed in asking for reviews when folks have read through the issue with this post. :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Totally awesome!!


{flipping through to pg. 5} Man, I need some Zog’s Root

Scarab Sages

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Thanks for the art, Todd.
Love the makeshift 'stage', and the enthusiastic audience.
Maybe they helped empty those barrels, to make them easier to move?

Silver Crusade

Side Project Podcast is listed as a supporter.. awesome ad too. ;-)

I tried to get in with a few submissions but didn't make the cut. I am excited to use some of the gear and archetypes in here.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Love the Map of the Monastery.


I love this one for all the River Kingdom articles. Great work. But I forget, did a previous issue concentrate on 'Ultimate Campaign' at all, especially the kingdom-building rules? Because that would work great with this issue.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Eric Hinkle wrote:
I love this one for all the River Kingdom articles. Great work. But I forget, did a previous issue concentrate on 'Ultimate Campaign' at all, especially the kingdom-building rules? Because that would work great with this issue.

You can see the themes of previous issues listed here. Mostly they've been regional themes like this one.

Kingdom-building articles are allowed in any issue provided they meet the issue's theme. See here for the open call for the next issue (Numeria).

Sovereign Court PaizoCon Founder, Wayfinder Editor-in-Chief

Eric Hinkle wrote:
I love this one for all the River Kingdom articles. Great work. But I forget, did a previous issue concentrate on 'Ultimate Campaign' at all, especially the kingdom-building rules? Because that would work great with this issue.

Many previous issues have expanded on use of the kingdom building rules. This one did not, likely because so much had been done in past issues already. Each issue is truly unique in what is sent in to us...it makes the process even more interesting, because we really don't know what we are going to get!

Sovereign Court PaizoCon Founder, Wayfinder Editor-in-Chief

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I have to admit, I really want feedback as well. Being a contributor to Wayfinder for the first time since issue #3, I am curious as to how the side trek adventure is being received.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, I'm curious if anyone enjoys the ACG adventure. It was really fun to write and play test!

The Exchange

My first, casual pass shows the awesomeness I've come to expect from Wayfinder. Looking forward to digging later when I have time. I'll also need to find something to order so Paizo can send along my contributor copy.


Thanks for having the Tsemaus wish I had like 3 years already coming to flesh in this!


Good to see some free stuff down by the river that isn't in a van. ;)


Shadowborn wrote:
I'll also need to find something to order so Paizo can send along my contributor copy.

Contributor copy?? Is that a thing? I couldn't make it to PaizoCon and really want this in print since my article was accepted.

Even if this isn't a thing, when are the print copies available for those of us who couldn't make it to PaizoCon?

Sovereign Court PaizoCon Founder, Wayfinder Editor-in-Chief

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Kelly P wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
I'll also need to find something to order so Paizo can send along my contributor copy.

Contributor copy?? Is that a thing? I couldn't make it to PaizoCon and really want this in print since my article was accepted.

Even if this isn't a thing, when are the print copies available for those of us who couldn't make it to PaizoCon?

Here's the skinny on that....

If you contributed to #15, you will get a contributor copy, b/w version. If you didn't get to PaizoCon to pick one up, we have some very generous help from Paizo to send those out to you, in connection with your Paizo account. I will be posting a Google Forms for this very soon. Delivery of these copies is probably not until after GenCon.

If you want a copy of #14, we printed a very limited quantity, and those will be available in the Paizo store later on. If you want a color copy of #14 or #15, those are specially printed in extremely limited quantities, and will be available in the store as well.


Timitius wrote:

Here's the skinny on that....

If you contributed to #15, you will get a contributor copy, b/w version. If you didn't get to PaizoCon to pick one up, we have some very generous help from Paizo to send those out to you, in connection with your Paizo account. I will be posting a Google Forms for this very soon. Delivery of these copies is probably not until after GenCon.

If you want a copy of #14, we printed a very limited quantity, and those will be available in the Paizo store later on. If you want a color copy of #14 or #15, those are specially printed in extremely limited quantities, and will be available in the store as well.

Thank you!! This is very exciting.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Tim,

You asked for feedback on the Side Treks.

I liked the Encounters at the Creek Crossing. They are tight little single encounters that are ready to play, and these in particular subvert your expectation of what is really happening (at least mine). Are they meant to be just a single encounter, or are longer Side Treks allowed?

As for the Side Trek Seeds, I am biased because they are my preferred format to write. Though I can see why a GM would prefer to have a fully fleshed out Side Trek, and not just a Seed. Either format takes up just under half a page, it seems.

And thanks for putting some art to my piece (Lazlo's Ferry). Tanyaporn Sangsnit really did a nice job bringing my NPCs to life.

- Chuck D.


I was wondering about getting in touch with the artist who did the piece for "The Hut: A Tavern on the Sellen River." If the artist is on the board, can you message me? If not, may you can put me in touch, Timitius?

Sovereign Court PaizoCon Founder, Wayfinder Editor-in-Chief

Kelly P wrote:
I was wondering about getting in touch with the artist who did the piece for "The Hut: A Tavern on the Sellen River." If the artist is on the board, can you message me? If not, may you can put me in touch, Timitius?

Sure thing. I have had several similar requests that I should address soon as well!


PbemDM wrote:

Tim,

You asked for feedback on the Side Treks.

I liked the Encounters at the Creek Crossing. They are tight little single encounters that are ready to play, and these in particular subvert your expectation of what is really happening (at least mine). Are they meant to be just a single encounter, or are longer Side Treks allowed?

As for the Side Trek Seeds, I am biased because they are my preferred format to write. Though I can see why a GM would prefer to have a fully fleshed out Side Trek, and not just a Seed. Either format takes up just under half a page, it seems.

And thanks for putting some art to my piece (Lazlo's Ferry). Tanyaporn Sangsnit really did a nice job bringing my NPCs to life.

- Chuck D.

Thank you so much! \(,; u ;,)/ ♥

I'm super duper glad you like the art!! I really enjoy reading your story as well. They are a really fun bunch!


Timitius wrote:
Kelly P wrote:
I was wondering about getting in touch with the artist who did the piece for "The Hut: A Tavern on the Sellen River." If the artist is on the board, can you message me? If not, may you can put me in touch, Timitius?

Sure thing. I have had several similar requests that I should address soon as well!

Thanks for your email! Much appreciated.

Sovereign Court PaizoCon Founder, Wayfinder Editor-in-Chief

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you, Nick and Scott, for the great 5-star reviews!

Scarab Sages

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Thanks for the review, Template Fu!

Template Fu wrote:
I also think poems and songs written to the meter of existing real world songs is a great aid to the imagination for both the GM and the players, a very wise move.

It's partly necessity to use existing tunes, since I like wordplay, but don't read music, printing a new tune would take up a huge amount of space, and most of the readers wouldn't be able to decipher it. This way, they hit the ground running, as "I know that one. That the one that goes du du du duuu du, dududeduu du?".

They're usually songs that have been earworms for me for a while, that I've found myself humming in idle moments, and adding new verses of my own concoction is a natural progression.

Template Fu wrote:
The second one, The Land That Sings To Me, is the most amusing and most entertaining of the songs. How often do you encounter a poem using the word miscreant?

You can blame my vocabulary on me finding a volume of Clark Ashton Smith, as an impressionable eight-year-old, in a used bookstore in bohemian Hebden Bridge, which sent me a bit peculiar. I was reading that stuff before I picked up D&D, whih seems to be the opposite way round from the norm, and meant unravelling Gygaxian text was no big deal.

And I resisted the temptation to rhyme it with 'this treant'.

As far as finding a copy of the tune, you shouldn't have trouble; it's fairly famous, being a staple of Springsteen's set for a few decades, it got sung at Obama's inauguration by the Washington Monument. While looking for an example for you, I found this one that I love, since it features many of folk royalty.
Oh, Joan Baez. I am now a puddle. Scrape me up and put me in a bucket, please.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm still working my way through the issue (I read about a third to a half of it while on vacation, but have been swamped since then), but have very much enjoyed what I've read so far.

I did just want to say, though, I was tickled at the mention of the everbloom leshies in Kendra Leigh Speedling's Everbloom Monastery gazetteer. That was my second every submission to Wayfinder, so I was thrilled someone remembered it. Thanks, Kendra!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

I'm still working my way through the issue (I read about a third to a half of it while on vacation, but have been swamped since then), but have very much enjoyed what I've read so far.

I did just want to say, though, I was tickled at the mention of the everbloom leshies in Kendra Leigh Speedling's Everbloom Monastery gazetteer. That was my second every submission to Wayfinder, so I was thrilled someone remembered it. Thanks, Kendra!

You can actually thank the editors for that one! They specifically requested that I work the leshies in there, hence the druid (she wasn't in my original submission). But I love what it added to the article, so I should be thanking you. :-)


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Well, thanks anyway, and thanks to the editors!

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Well, thanks anyway, and thanks to the editors!

Specifically, you can thank Tim Nightengale for that idea. I just agreed with him. ;)


This post continues my review on the review pane – the review pane reviews the first 20 pages of this 84 page product, and will be completed over a number of posts here in the comments.

Dear Paizo, please can we have Neil Spicer character limits on our reviews please?

On to the review then, on the review pane, I finished at Scaling Magic Items in the River Kingdoms, so let’s move to the next item…

Side Trek Seeds: Adventure in the River Kingdoms
The next article brings us a regular offering of Wayfinder, that of adventure hooks and seeds. The first seed is investigative in nature, following disappearances of prominent NPCs during a festival. The background promises dire consequences for river trade, so fitting very well with the issue’s theme.

The second seed see’s the PCs being hired as personal bodyguards during a visit to the opera. I found this to be the weakest link to the river kingdoms, but the potential for roleplay, hijinks on the stage before an audience and all the dangers that entails, is very high.

The third seed takes a journey across the Sellen in one of the most dangerous manners available, escorting an NPC being pursued – not initially revealed to the PCs of course. This one promises many shenanigans and problems for the PCs, especially when crossing the waters of the Sellen itself.

The fourth one, set in Loric Fells near Daggerford offers an exceptionally dangerous and fraught encounter with a graveknight. The background is nicely woven into the area selected and promises something more than a run of the mill undead encounter! It could also introduce a recurring villain into your PCs lives in a coherent and believable fashion.

The fifth hook takes us to the town of Peywood, under the sway of something so dire and frightening that the town populace are staying behind doors rather than celebrating their towns new borns which they would normally do this time of year. This hook would play better in Ustalav, playing up the fear and terror aspects, but it does work in the river kingdoms reasonable well.

The sixth seed takes us across the Sellen once again, this time via a covered bridge, which fills with a strange mist. Again, this feels like it is more suited to dark and gothic Ustalav, but as a river crossing encounter, it fits the theme of the issue and supplies something different from the majority of bridge encounters.

Oddly enough the two art pieces accompanying these seeds are both taking scenes from the two seeds that I felt were more Ustalavian than River Kingdoms flavored. The first, representing the graveknight is very evocative, portraying the menace of the protagonist very well. The second has a familiar feel to it which I just can’t quite place, a shadow figure with elongated shadows looking into a strange misty light. This art strengthens my desire to place this encounter in Ustalav rather than the River Kingdoms, especially as the river Sellen is not very visible in the art piece, it could almost be a barn in the woods.
Article: 8/10, Art: 9/10 for the graveknight, 7/10 for the bridge

Defenders of the River Freedoms
This article provides the players and games masters with an assortment of regional traits and feats specific to the River Kingdoms. Some of the regional traits imply a certain in game role play requirement and some only seem to consider one side of the theme on which they play.

Example one, the Legal Wayfinder trait implies the person is constantly keeping abreast of the changing laws of the area – a games master could ask a player what activities they undertook that “game week/month” to maintain this trait and its benefit.

Example two, the Suffer No Shackles trait discusses benefits of great fear of capture to making an escape, but I felt could be balanced with a penalty to fear checks of the same order of its escape benefits when capture is a very real threat.

The feats make sense, I personally wouldn’t have prevented the atonement spell from counting as an atonement for the River Freedoms Practitioner and for the same feat, I would have clarified disobeying a law as knowingly disobeying a law – i.e. the player consciously chose to go against the law and so the atonement is a proper penance for their guilt.

The artwork is a meeting between two individuals. I felt it unclear if the sword wielder was accosting a thief captured in the act or whether it was two party members discussing the sharing of recent spoils. It is a nice piece, I just couldn’t associate it with the article very easily.
Article: 8/10, Art: 8/10

Review running total so far: 19,892 characters, or 3,467 words. 15 articles reviewed in depth, 33 articles remaining to review. So we are about a third of the way there. Grin.

The average review box allows just 16,000 characters, so I am trying to see by how much I am busting that limit! :P

And that’s lunch time done – more review will follow shortly.

The Exchange

For the sake of enlightenment, I'd like to mention that a proctor is also defined as "an official charged with various duties, especially with the maintenance of good order."


Woot! Awesome job everyone involved!


Template Fu wrote:

This post continues my review on the review pane – the review pane reviews the first 20 pages of this 84 page product, and will be completed over a number of posts here in the comments.

Can't wait to read more of your review :)

Sovereign Court

Template Fu that has got to be one of the most in depth reviews I have seen. Thank you for taking the time to put it together. :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kelly P wrote:
Template Fu wrote:

This post continues my review on the review pane – the review pane reviews the first 20 pages of this 84 page product, and will be completed over a number of posts here in the comments.

Can't wait to read more of your review :)

I will be posting some more this weekend - sorry for the delay, but I am a bit out of sorts at the moment - my mum was taken terminally ill on my return from Paizocon and it has hit me for six.

I am slowly getting my head straight, so will tackle finishing this issue as a build up to normal writing speeds. Promise.


High and Low Roads: More River Kingdoms Archetypes
Now we come to some archetypes, more options for players and also for GMs to build diverse and interesting NPC encounters. The first, Repossessor, for the Brawler, is a mercenary in every sense of the word fulfilling a very interesting niche in the River Kingdoms setting. It’s one that really makes sense. There was an element of boring freebie first on the power descriptions with the main exciting feature being presented afterwards – it’s more exciting to see the new stuff first and then get the free feat, etc. at the end.

Next is Road Judge, for the Cavalier. I groaned inwardly as soon as I saw the Order of the Six Freedoms. Now, there is nothing wrong here other than the fact that the freedoms are so inherent to the setting that they get overused and are rapidly becoming a meme. That said another meme is apparent in the special ability names, “Jury and Execution” –the class is a judge, giving us the well-known saying Judge, Jury and Executioner. So looking at these special abilities, I would have played off of “Judge” a bit more, calling the first one “Call to Order” as a judge in a court might do, and then I would have split the diplomacy/sense motive part and the damage effect parts of the “Jury and Executioner” into separate “Jury” and “Executioner” special powers, as written co-joined it made the final power quite complex, and by splitting them we can get a nicer flow of powers because Jury could come earlier in the progression.

Finally, we have the Low Roads Drifter, a gunslinger archetype with accompanying art. I really liked the feel of this one, some of the new deeds introduced being very flavorful and cinematic – the sunder shot especially calling to mind Clint Eastwood shooting the hanging rope in the film The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The full color gunslinger art accompanying this archetype is a female dressed in what is the typical gunslinger dress found throughout other Pathfinder products. I rather like this style as it lends itself very well to the pirate setting - this illustration would serve equally well for a PC or NPC in the Skull and Shackles Adventure Path.
Article: 8/10, Art: 9/10

Gunslinging Gladiator
Ohhh, the gunslinger goodies continue. A stirring vignette set in the battle arena which moves at a rocketing pace from start to finish. Make sure you have time to read this in one sitting because once you start, it will drag you along to the end with barely a time for breath. The accompanying art renders a moment in the story, a snapshot of one of the pivotal moments of the encounter – the art includes another female gunslinger, rendered with that consistent dress style we have come to know for this class. The art is in full color from a standpoint just behind the combatants, as if you were in the arena with them. The angle and composition of the piece is very cinematic, supplementing the story extremely well.
Article: 9/10, Art: 9/10

Review running total so far: 22,481 characters, or 3,905 words. 17 articles have now been reviewed in depth, 31 articles remain to review.


Golarion Gazetteer: Lazlo’s Ferry
The next article is a recurring feature of Wayfinder, called a Golarion Gazetteer. It is an article type that takes threads and locations mentioned in passing with little detailing within official products expanding upon them to provide a fully realized location to adventure in. Here we concentrate on Lazlo’s Ferry, near Mivon. I couldn’t find the original reference to this location, normally I can so I suspect this may be just a dot on a map or similar. As a request to the writers and editors for the future issues, can the Golarion Gazetteer articles refer back to their original reference in a foot note or similar?

I like what I see here, it is complete, self-contained and provides an interesting location with a solid and sensible reason for its existence, why it started as a ferry, and the reasons behind the original settlement by the incumbent population. There are a goodly collection of NPCs detailed enough for the GM to use when interacting with the players and there are plot threads aplenty – not just in the adventure hooks portion but throughout the whole article.

The accompanying art portrays three of the NPCs detailed in the article – beautifully colored and rendered.
Article: 9/10, Art: 10/10

Sailing in the River Kingdoms: An ACG Adventure
Next up is a nice article for the Adventure Card game players, taking the card set Skull and Shackles and reworking it to work off the coast of the river kingdoms. I wish it had gone that one step farther, turning the ships into vessels that would operate within the river routes themselves.

So we have two nice linked scenarios that provide a goodly challenge and using just the base set cards, so you don’t need to have collected the whole series to use them.

Two card arts from the base set accompany the article… as existing cards, I cannot really score the art so the art score here is purely a level of satisfaction with the cards chosen to illustrate the article.
Article: 9/10, Art: 8/10

Notable Items of the River Kingdoms
One of my favorite article types next, a collection of magical items and treasures. The collection consists of one wondrous item, and two magical weapons. I worry that the wondrous item is priced a little cheaply for the purpose of affecting a whole river and the population that resides along it – I would need to revisit this and reassess it completely before allowing it into my campaign.

The first weapon has the problem of backstory – now in the old days of dnd, items tended to have backstory but not so now. The problem with backstory is that it enforces setting / NPCs onto the GM and/or makes it harder for him to use the item without reworking the backstory into their campaigns or reworking the item itself. Items, like spells and feats, should be setting neutral in the sense that they do not force the GM to undertake extra work or leave footprints all over their setting.

The second item has the “in possession” problem. What constitutes an item being in possession of the PC? Can they store it at “home” and still benefit from its protections for example? For magical weapons, all powers are assumed to function only while the weapon is wielded, so this optionality introduced by having in possession powers goes against the design norm. If you find yourself doing this, ask yourself, is this a weapon or a wondrous item, be true to the design for each type.
Overall, the items are good, they just need that extra pass and critical reworking of the parts mentioned above to fix them up to really shine.

The accompanying artwork is for the scepter, the second of the weapons, rendering the item description extremely well. I like it, it looks like a weapon that would be easy to wield and give a satisfying crunch when bashing the heads of local evil creatures! ;)
Article: 7/10, Art: 9/10

Review running total so far: 26,340 characters, or 4,576 words. 20 articles have now been reviewed in depth.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

More review coming soon - just had a crazy week overruling all my plans. Sorry.

In the interim, I was populating a spreadsheet with my reviews and realised what I was building was a nice, useful article index...

* furious copy paste to a new sheet to hide the evidence :P *

So, for your patience, on this link is a handy dandy reference to the first five issues. I will keep adding the issues in when I get a spare moment, I thought it might be a good idea to seek feedback and suggestions from those interested enough to download it, in case of major changes needed before I get too far into it.

Shared by google docs, which doesnt seem to offer all the filtering etc I put into the sheet, but does allows you view the data in your browser if you dont have excel.

Sorry, it is an excel sheet with table formatting - meaning if you are using excel and download your own copy then you can filter by issue, by content type, by author, by artist, you can also sort alphabetically by clicking the sort buttons.

This should also allow you to quickly find that favorite article or read everything by your favorite authors, find the art/eye candy from your favorite artists and so on.

Enjoy.


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The ever so nice anniversary update for Windows 10 really messed my Office registration up (repair and re-register was needed) and my file shares on google docs. Grrrrr.

All sorted now after much hair pulling, but you will now need this new link to the sheet!

Following your kind suggestions and feedback, thanks, you now have a new table added containing article and art credits so you can see who the prolific repeat writers/artists are.

Also added columns for scores and links to my reviews, the first review for Wayfinder 1 pasted in to illustrate.

Issues covered are now 1 thru 7.

Yeah, my name will appear in the contributors list soon, my first appearance in the magazine is coming up! :P


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Some fun numbers for you - 10 out of 15 issues now in the sheet.

So, for the first 10 issues - how much free stuff is there to delight you?

Articles (inclusive of foreword and cover art) - 368

Top 10 Article Types:

075 articles Fiction: Short
034 articles Setting: Gazetteer
027 articles Setting: Weal or Woe
020 articles Setting: Pathfinder Journal
017 articles Bestiary: Creatures
017 articles Encounters: Side Treks
017 articles Rules: Items
014 articles Rules: Prestige Classes
011 articles Rules: Archetypes
010 articles Miscellaneous: Poetry

And how many people have successfully gained credit in this august publication's first 10 issues?

Unique named Contributors - 259

Top 6 writer credits so far...

14 credits Spicer, Neil
13 credits Lee, Jeff
10 credits Costello Jr., Ryan
10 credits Fox, Guy
09 credits Gimmler, Christoph
09 credits McAnulty, Jonathan

Top 6 artist credits so far...

28 credits Torreblanca, Carlos
26 credits Courts, Liz
23 credits Sperry, Ashton
22 credits Solis, Hugo
17 credits Mallon, Dave
17 credits Frasier, Crystal

Will these contributors still be top after the last 5 issues are added - can't wait to find out, grin?


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Part II of my review:

All right, and here's the final section of the book - the bestiary. These critters were penned by Russ Brown (of Rusted Iron Games), Matt Duval, Joe Kondrak, Thomas LeBlanc, John Lessing, Mark Nordheim, Kendra Leigh Speedling and Jeffrey Swank, illustrated by Becky Barnes, Lynette Fetters, Michael Jaecks, Chris L- Kimball, Adam Koča, Danny Hedager Krog and Dionisis Milonas.

We begin with the CR 1 blood sapling - grown from a corpse buried to the head in soil, this twisted plant creature feasts on nearby bleeding and dying creatures and may spray a blinding sap at foes. The beautifully rendered gaint knifewing dragonfly at CR 3 is a surprisingly cool vermin, with functionality and "realism" suffusing the flavor as their wings cut foes to ribbons. The Ferrywight can dip its oars in the water, making it enervating, which is kinda cool - though I've seen the undead ferryman too often by now...for me as a person, I'll stick to big bad Charron. Similarly, the CR 6 Hearth Wraith is a trope I am pretty familiar with at this point - while by no means a bad build, it falls short of the CR 12 river raken that can run vessels aground and even move on land - much like real krakens can. A heartfelt kudos to the artist that provided the artwork for the CR 12 predatory sandbar - what could have been a solid ooze is rendered significantly more captivating by a glorious artwork. Now yes, I know I have bashed the aforementioned wraiths a bit - but there are some concepts that work for me: The Cr +2 river wraith with its unique ability array may also be a familiar trope, but I feel like it does its job slightly better. The Tsemauis at CR 6 look like a log with protusion from the top - below the surface, though, they are basically a magical variant of a particularly nasty orca, hell-bent on eating PCs. Oh, and though they only are CR 6 - one failed save after their gore and they have bisected you. Game over. Yes. I know. Massive damage would make more sense. Unfair. Yadda-yadda. I'm a killer-GM. I don't care. I like that they actually are lethal as all hell. Their artwork is also pretty impressive an thus, we end this book on a definite high note!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, both on a formal and rules-language level, is significantly better than in many a commercial publication I have reviewed - that is to say: Very good. Layout adheres to a gorgeous two-column full-color standard that is easy to read. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and features a TON or gorgeous original artwork by: Becky Barnes, Catherine Batka, Darran Caldemeyer, Snow Conrad, Jeremy Corff, Liz Courts, Andrew DeFelice, Jess Door, Lynnette Fetters, Silvia Gonzalez, Michael Jaecks, James Keegan, Chris L. Kimball, Adam Koča, Danny Hedager Krog, Alberto Ortiz Leon, Mike Lowe, Dio Mahesa, Dave Mallon, Jesse Mohn, Dionisis Milonas, Alex Moore, Beatrice Pelagatti, dodeqaa Polyhedra, Basil Arnould Price, Tanyaporn Sangsnit, Kristiina Seppä, Carlos Torreblanca, and Todd Westcot.

Beyond these artists, the following authors have contributed to this issue: Charlie Bell, Landon Bellavia, Charlie Brooks, Russ Brown, Dixon Cohee, Chuck DiTusa, Matt Duval, Robert Feather, Benjamin Fields, Aaron Filipowich, Nikolai Geier, Spencer Giffin, Amy Goodenough, Garrett Guillotte, Bran Hagger, Kiel Howell, Dana Huber, Joe Kondrak, John Laffan, Thomas LeBlanc, Jeff Lee, John Leising, James McTeague, Jacob W. Michaels, Brian Minhinnick, Tim Nightengale, Mark Nordheim, Kelly Pawlik, Matt Roth, Jeff Sexton, Elliot Smith, Kendra Leigh Speedling, Jeffrey Swank, Ian Turner, Brendan Ward, Steven Lloyd Wilson, Alexander Wreschnig, and Scott Young. Cartography was provided by none other than Liz Courts and Alex Moore.

There is a lot of love that has gone into this magazine and it shows everywhere - from superb artworks to great ideas, there are some true gems to be found here. While not all pieces of content may be perfectly polished gems, there is an exceedingly high chance you will find something astounding and useful herein...and if you're playing Kingmaker (or in the River Kingdoms or a similar environment) this suddenly becomes pretty much a must-own, non-optional supplement to your game. Even if this was a commercial enterprise, it would rate highly in my scale; considering that this very much is a labor of love and FREE is staggering and humbling; to the point where I'd honestly recommend getting the print for this one, provided you can afford it. And if you're not sure...well, you can just download it.

For free.

FREE.

This is a labor of love and a testament to the health and commitment of the community I love. It is my utmost pleasure to rate this 5 stars + seal of approval. Download this ASAP; now. It is worth every KB, ever MB on your hard drive.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here!

Cheers,

Endzeitgeist out.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ok, the sheet is now complete with issue content, so back to reviewing for me :)

Please use the link above as google drive is not syncing properly still, so I had to recreate and re-link the share - gah!

Here are some extra fun and interesting tid-bits...

15 issues... the summary ;)

541 written articles (excludes pure art and cover submissions).
168 of these articles written by 49 RPG Superstar contenders (from Top 32 placers through top 4 finalists and winners).

366 individuals have contributed written work, art or both (which is why this number is slightly smaller than the total of the next two).
258 individual authors of the written word...
126 individual artists providing visual candy...

Top 7 writer credits...

20 credits Spicer, Neil
19 credits Lee, Jeff
13 credits Turner, Ian
11 credits Costello Jr., Ryan
11 credits Crenshaw, Paris E.
11 credits Fox, Guy
11 credits Gimmler, Christoph

Top 7 art providers...

43 credits Torreblanca, Carlos
38 credits Courts, Liz
27 credits Mallon, Dave
25 credits Moore, Alex, J.
25 credits Sperry, Ashton
24 credits Solis, Hugo
20 credits Frasier, Crystal

Most popular submissions...

102 articles Fiction: Short
55 articles Setting: Gazetteer
41 articles Setting: Weal or Woe
37 articles Rules: Items
27 articles Encounters: Side Treks
27 articles Rules: Archetypes

Sovereign Court

nice


Anthony, that is amazing! New goal: Catch up to Neil... (haha, like anyone could catch up to Lord Word Fountain)

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Anthony Adam wrote:

Ok,

Top 7 writer credits...

20 credits Spicer, Neil
19 credits Lee, Jeff
13 credits Turner, Ian
11 credits Costello Jr., Ryan
11 credits Crenshaw, Paris E.
11 credits Fox, Guy
11 credits Gimmler, Christoph

So...close...must...type...faster...

Can we get a doping test, on Neil and Jeff?

The Exchange

Snorter wrote:
Anthony Adam wrote:

Ok,

Top 7 writer credits...

20 credits Spicer, Neil
19 credits Lee, Jeff
13 credits Turner, Ian
11 credits Costello Jr., Ryan
11 credits Crenshaw, Paris E.
11 credits Fox, Guy
11 credits Gimmler, Christoph

So...close...must...type...faster...

Can we get a doping test, on Neil and Jeff?

I'm actually surprised. I hadn't realized I'd written that many pieces for Wayfinder, especially since I didn't get anything into an even-numbered issue until...#6, I think? Possibly #8.

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