Thread: Pathfinder I: Burnt Offerings
Friday, 29th August, 2008, 08:25 PM #1
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ø Ignore Varianor Abroad
Pathfinder I: Burnt Offerings
98 pages, softcover, including one page of ads for upcoming Pathfinder books and half a page for the OGL.
This is Part I of a six-month adventure path set in the new world of Golarion. It's extraordinarily well done. The village is very detailed. The area is cool. The major villain is sad, has a motive, and remains creepy. The adventure is fun and different for a first level to fourth level one. (I appreciate the scope of it running over four levels. It plays better that way IMO.) I could easily see transporting the dungeon (i.e. goblin lair) from it's current location to just about anywhere.
The art is topnotch. I'm not a fan of some of it (it's rather Eberronian to coin a phrase), but it's all well done. Despite my preference for a different style, there's a color illustration of Seoni the sorceress sample PC that's really attractive (p. 97). The cover is quite cool - the art does work for these goblins. I also really like the 7-pointed star symbol and the page background images which are subtle and don't overwhelm, unlike some of the earlier d20 stuff. The p. 72 aqueduct illo and the p.8 one with the goblins are also worth mentioning.
Maps are excellent. I like the ones provided. They work nicely. I believe that this is a small town based on the way it's drawn and presented. I may steal some of these. The map art reminds me of the very fine offerings in old MERP adventures for some reason. This is a positive because it's so well done. Another nice little detail? The distances on the map are all short. Although the adventure involves some wandering, it's not over a large area.
Background materials on Thassilon were cool. Normally, background fluff doesn't impress me that much since I've read so much of it. But this has a clear theme to it that caught my attention. The Runelords are intriguing. (Though is it just me, or after Arcana Evolved is everyone going overboard with Rune This and Rune That?)
The Pathfinder's Journal is one of the features that makes this stand out. This is a notebook published by a Secret Society for Adventurers. It makes sense. There's some mystery in it. There's more intrigue, story hooks and ideas. I liked this little feature a lot.
The monster appendix was a nice DM tidbit, as were the little Designer's Notes sidebars scattered throughout. I really liked those. There are six monsters, all of which feature in some portion of the adventure: Goblin Dog (CR 1), Goblin Snake (CR 1), Sinspawn (CR 2), Attic Whisperer (CR 4), the Sandpoint Devil (CR 8). I particularly enjoyed the Attic Whisperer. They are all well done.
The only real nitpick I had was with the glassworks. Someone had obviously studied up on one, but they had forgotten (or not learned) that a pseudo-medieval era glassworks needs lots and lots of wood for fuel. I didn't see any place to store wood on the map or any mention in the text. With a glassworks of this size, there should be almost daily deliveries of fuel. Or a very large storehouse. The latter is preferable because otherwise the plot goes a little off kilter. If I were running it, I would add one off to one side. Which, if anyone asked the locals, they would realize that no one had been out there in a couple days. Alternatively, they could have a captive elemental, but that seems a little too powerful.
But hey, that's what growing up in a town that glass built does for me. It lets me critique obscure missing facts in D&D adventures. Despite the fact that the overall heft of this adventure is mighty.
The best meta-commentary I have on this adventure is that it runs with a theme. You can see it start. It's going to continue in the next one. Everything ties into it. That's a good thing for a product that's an Adventure Path. You want everything to build off history and flavor and promote action.
Overall, good stuff. I konw that I won't run it, but I might well rob stuff from it. (I never run published adventures except rarely at conventions.) What put this up to a 5 review for me was the package, the presentation, and the theme all coming together so well.Looking for a convention game, custom adventure for your gaming group, or a playtest? Please join my Google Group and mailing list.
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