Review of Midgard Tales: Kobold Press delivers Epic Adventures to Pathfinder Heroes!

For a while there, it felt like the big trend in creating content for a fantasy role-playing game was to either make a single module, or to dump a whole adventure arc on the GM. Sure, it works for some gaming groups, but sometimes gamers find that it’s good to have more choices for stand-alone adventures, and not having to worry so much about adhering to a long drawn out story arc that might take months or years to complete.

Thankfully, there are still some anthologies of adventures being published out there, sets of quests that can be played in any order the GM wants. This year, Midgard Tales has come along from Kobold Press as one of those anthologies packed with adventures of all shapes and sizes. Designer Ben McFarland headed this Open Design project to create a collection of Pathfinder RPG adventures, all set in the lands of the Midgard Campaign Setting. Penned by more than a dozen authors, Midgard Tales claims to have adventures for heroes of every level, spanning almost every land in Midgard… and beyond!

Midgard Tales

  • Developer: Ben McFarland
  • Adventure Design: Morgan Boehringer, Tim Connors, Mike Franke, Crystal Frasier, Erik Freund, Matt Hewson, Michael Lane, Chris Lozaga, Ben McFarland, Richard Pett, Ted Reed, Brian Suskind
  • Illustrations: Ted Reed (cover); Guido Kuip, Pat Loboyko, Terry Maranda, Marc Radle, Ted Reed (interior); Crystal Frasier (cartography)
  • Publisher: Kobold Press
  • Year: 2013
  • Media: PDF (198 pages)
  • Price: $14.99 (Available from RPGNow)

Midgard Tales
is an anthology of adventures for Pathfinder RPG collected by Ben McFarland, and are all set in various locations around the Midgard Setting by Open Design. There are thirteen adventures in all, and these are designed for heroes of levels ranging from Level 1 to Level 11.


Production Quality

The production quality of Midgard Tales is excellent, with a pleasing design and some top notch writing from the authors involved in the anthology. The adventures all have a similar layout, making it easy to comprehend and run for a GM of a PF gaming group. Also, the choices of font use really enhance the product overall, particularly the heading font which is reminiscent of Tolkien script.

Midgard Tales
has both a table of contents and PDF bookmarks to use for navigation, although the bookmarks are a little bit disappointing. There is only a bookmark to the start of each adventure, and no sub-bookmarks delineating sections of an adventure. Given that each adventure is a dozen pages or more - and some with maps, tables, and other key information – the addition of other bookmarks for navigation through each adventure would have been quite helpful.

The art and cartography in Midgard Tales is top notch, from the beautiful full color front cover to the interior illustrations. Almost every adventure has a couple of illustrations, often depicting creatures and scenes the heroes might encounter during their trek. And overall, the cartography was exceptional throughout Midgard Tales, especially considering that some of the adventure locales are quite bizarre indeed.


“Time for you to earn your song”


The designer of Midgard Tales, Ben McFarland, made clear in his introduction what he wanted this project to be for the Pathfinder RPG gamers who would enjoy this product: “…a dynamic place, packed with the unexpected and the intriguing, loaded with opportunities to become immortalized in bardic tales and tavern drinking songs.” And true to his vision, there are themes running throughout this product that hearken to the sorts of adventures that Conan or Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser might have encountered - definitely not simply a run-of-the-mill dungeon delve experience.

It should be noted that this is not an adventure arc or series, but a collection of stand-alone experiences which can become part of any Pathfinder RPG campaign – particularly one set in Midgard! And despite the fact that the contents in Midgard Tales range for PF characters from only Level 1 to Level 11, the nature of those adventures have the players’ heroes visiting strange locales and facing some extreme challenges. So while some of the monsters in these adventures are familiar as old shoes, the authors did include quite a few new monsters and monster variations which will likely surprise and even horrify players when their characters encounter them.

Here is a list of the titles of the adventures found in Midgard Tales and the recommended level of the heroes:


  • Atop the Warring Blasphemies – Level 1
  • Curse of the Witchkeep – Level 2
  • On The Fourth Day, We Kill Them All – Level 3
  • Bloodmarked of the White Mountain Marches – Level 3
  • The Dawnsong Tragedy – Level 3
  • The Tattered Unicorn – Level 3
  • To Resurrect the Steigenadler – Level 4
  • Masquerade – Level 5
  • Whispers in the Dark – Level 6
  • Sorrow – Level 7
  • Among the Red Monoliths – Levels 7-9
  • Five Trials of Pharos – Level 10
  • The Stacks Between – Level 11

Obviously, enterprising GMs can adapt the adventures to higher or lower levels as desired, or use them with campaign settings other than Open Design’s Midgard Setting. And for those PF gamers who are fans of the Midgard Setting, there are some great tie-ins to the lore and the unique inhabitants of that world.

As discussing the contents and nature of each adventure would create truly obnoxious spoilers, it will be generally avoided in this review. But suffice it to say that there are some ingenious and astounding adventure plots in Midgard Tales, and even low level heroes will find themselves in unearthly perils never before anticipated for beginning heroes. (In fact, one of my personal favorites from this anthology is the Level 1 Atop the Warring Blasphemies adventure – it has that definite “mind = blown” quality to the locale and the plot!)

Each adventure is very well organized, providing the GM with the adventure background and summary, as well as possible hooks which can be used to draw the heroes into the plot. Read-aloud text and other descriptions are quite well written, and are noted in the text by font and font color changes.

Monsters which are unique NPCs or new creature designs have their stat blocks in the adventure text for use during gameplay. There are also a few new magic items in these adventures, and the details about them appear as boxed text which could be printed and given to the player whose character was lucky enough to claim it.

Each adventure also has one or more maps to illustrate areas where encounters might occur, numbered to match up with paragraphs of text. The maps are well-drawn, easy to read, and make drawing out an encounter on white-board or battle-mat a simple task.

Pathfinder GMs should find no difficulty running one or two or all of these adventures for their gaming group, whether as part of a campaign, or as a single-night of heroic fun!


Overall Score
: 4.25 out of 5.0


Conclusions


Frankly, there’s a lot of kick-butt adventure to be had in Kobold Press’ Midgard Tales! The adventures are well-designed, well-written, and have some uniquely surprising and astounding plots for Pathfinder RPG gamers. And while these adventures have strong ties to the Midgard Setting and its lore, there is nothing to stop a GM from adapting it to their own campaign world, or to any other world of their choosing. (What GM doesn’t adapt stuff like this… and I right?)

With thirteen fascinating and exciting adventures, there is a ton of content in Midgard Tales for the taking. And at its current the price point, it makes each adventure prices at just about $1.15 each, which is a lot of epic adventure for very little money.

Editorial Note
: This Reviewer received a complimentary copy of the product in PDF format from which this review was written.

Grade Card (Ratings 1 to 5)

  • Presentation: 4.25
  • - Design: 4.0 (Excellent adventure writing; well-designed layout)
  • - Illustrations: 4.5 (Very cool cover and interior illustrations; awesome maps!)
  • Content: 4.0
  • - Crunch: 4.0 (Amazing new monsters; solid rule use; balanced encounter design)
  • - Fluff: 4.0 (Fantastic new vistas and adventure plots; excellent Midgard lore use)
  • Value: 4.5 (Astounding price – it’s a bit over a buck per adventure!)
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top