Category Archives: Review

A Devilish Book Review

Pathfinder Tales: Master of Devils by Dave Gross

 

I’m really enjoying this series by Dave Gross, which started with “Prince of Wolves” and continues with “Queen of Thorns“.

 

In “Master of Devils“, Count Varian Jeggare, his bodyguard Radovan and Arnisant, their faithful hound, are plunged into the mysterious land of Tian Xia.

While Gross reminds us adnausium of Radovan’s “condition”, the story moves along at a good pace. The inclusion of Arnisant’s perspective is refreshing, while the glimpse into Tian Xia was informative, especially if you’re a Pathfinder Society Player or GM. I would have loved to see the grandure of real world wonders, however, such as China’s Great Wall and Forbidden City, depicted in the story. That said, if you enjoyed movies such as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” or “House of Flying Daggers“, then this is the book for you. And if the Asian setting is not your thing, pick this book up for the characters, who never fail to entertain.

 

I reviewed “Prince of Wolves” a little while ago too, read it here.

Prince of Wolves by Dave Gross

Hands down the best of the three Pathfinder Tales I’ve read so far. Gross presents two memorable characters, Pathfinder Varian Jeggare and his bodyguard, Radovan, in an exciting and engrossing adventure through ominous Ustlav.

 

Written in a style reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes and Dracula, the story draws you in, and, despite several errors, provides a thrilling read with a good mix of horror and humour.

Highly recommended, not just for Pathfinder and RPG fans.

 

Pathfinder Bestiary 3

I just picked up the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 3, since it will form a major cornerstone of my upcoming Kamen, Land of Masks campaign. The campaign is set in mythical Japan, and Bestiary 3 has loads of monsters that can slot right in, like the Spirit Oni, Tanuki and Jorogumo.

I always thought any bestiary after the first to be a waste of money, but Paizo did a great job of providing groups of creatures that fit well together. I already mentioned the traditional Japanese monsters you’ll find. Can anything be more iconic than the Kappa and Yuki-Onna (Snow Woman)? There are also creatures of Chinese origin (Terracotta Warriors), RPG cult legends (Flail Snail and Flumph) and loads more.

A bad example though is the Jubjub Bird and Bandersnatch, from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, since you’ll need the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 2 for the Jabberwock. Still, the Jubjub Bird and Bandersnatch work well together, and the Jabberwock is a great loner. That’s the same with the Sasquatch, Axe Beak and Bogeyman, which are all in Bestiary 3.

Groups of monsters include Clockwork creatures, Asura, Kami and Oni, to name but a few.

Challenge Rating (CR) wise, I’m very happy, I hardly play high level campaigns but there’s plenty to throw at mid level players. If you are starting out though, this isn’t going to give you all your Orcs and Goblins.

On the art side, this is a gem. I love the Kappa. Living in Japan there are loads of Kappa illustrations around (usually comical), but they made it look believable and scary. I didn’t like the Kodama (watch Princess Mononoke by Studio Ghibli to see more of these cool little dudes) or the oni in general. But I am biased.

Overall, a great addition to the collection.

 

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The Wizard’s Mask – Book Review

Recently we had a major snowstorm in Japan, which meant I was stuck on trains for more than 11 hours. Hours in which I felt like I was slogging through the muddy writing of Ed Greenwood’s “The Wizard’s Mask“.

There are many great pieces in this novel, during which the light of Ed’s writing talent really shines. The problem is that most of the book feels forced and rammed together, leaving those “great pieces” to suffer.

I’d love to see what Mr Greenwood could do if he gave this another pass or two with his writers pen, but right now “The Wizards Mask” is a poorly told, bland story that often makes for unwieldy reading.

 

Dungeons & Dragons Classics

The Legend of Drizzt Boardgame

New to my collection is the Legend of Drizzt: Dungeons and Dragons Board Game, designed by Peter Lee (D&D Miniatures, Heroscape) and published by Wizards of the Coast. What originally caught my eye is that this is a game for one to five players. Yes, you can play it solo! Also, if you’ve been into role-playing for awhile you’ve probably heard of Drizzt Do’Urden, the dark elf with a conscience, and his friends, who are central to this game. I’ve got a fair collection of D&D miniatures including Drizzt, Wulfgar, Bruenor and others and this rounded out my collection with Regis and Cattie-brie along with a good bunch of themed miniatures. So the question that was on my mind when I opened the box was: “how does this game actually play?” Well, let’s find out.

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Blood of the Zombies – Book Review

My three geeky weaknesses in this world are Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures, Star Wars Action Figures and Fighting Fantasy Game Books. Ever since I picked up City of Thieves when I was a young boy and took my first steps down the streets and alleys of Port Blacksand I’ve been hooked. This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Fighting Fantasy game books and with it the release of a new book, “Blood of the Zombies“, by Fighting Fantasy co-creator Ian Livingstone.  I bought the book and had a go and here are my thoughts on this little piece of green backed zombie mayhem.


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A Game of Thrones – Book Review

A Game of Thrones is probably not new to most people, what with the HBO series out and all. I just finished reading the book and so I thought a review was in order. For Game Masters I think the book highlights a couple of questions that are worth considering.

I’m a big Tolkien fan, and it’s not often that I find a book I’d even consider comparing with his works. A Game of Thrones, however, is a book to reckon with.

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Pathfinder’s Box – Cracking Open The Beginners Box

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beginner Box has been around for awhile now but I figure it’s worth a review. Today we’ll crack open the box and look at the highs and lows of this game.

If you haven’t already bought something from Paizo before then let me put you at ease. Today gamers expect quality and Paizo delivers in bucket loads, both visually and content wise. In fact, Paizo polish would be my main reason for recommending anything they sell. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, if you don’t know, is actually an improved version of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. You’re not getting a new game here, you’re getting the next generation of a game that won a place in the hearts of role-players everywhere.

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