The latest installment of Rite Publishing’s FREE E-Zine Pathways is 41 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 10 pages advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 28 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
After David Paul’s editorial, in which we get an inside glimpse at the things to come from RiP, we delve into this issue’s template by Steven D. Russell, the despiser creature, which clocks in at CR +2 and boy is this template EVIL: Geared towards planar weirdness, despiser creatures are essentially harbingers of madness and doom – they have a madness-inducing aura (including a new type of madness), can fold space and teleport others offensively into solid objects and also get a gaze attack that makes those meeting it suicidal. Worse yet, these creatures are nigh indestructable, rejuvenating unless killed in a rather cool and specific manner that makes them prime candidates for recurring villains. I love this template – even more so due to the cool CR 11 sample creature and Dallas William’s awesome artwork.
Raging Swan Press’ mastermind Creighton Broadhurst has two fully statted mysterious travelers to drop into your game – a doppelgänger-spy and an aasimar-bard (At CR 6 and 4, respectively), providing hooks, background and mannerisms as well – A cool article to supplement modules, travels or simply scavenge the statblocks.
And then, Steven D. Russell gets EVIL. You might know I consider the Joker to be the coolest villain EVER and that I considered Stephen King’s “It” at the tender age of 12 once a thoroughly disturbing book. The Blood Bayou’s Jack of Tears still features in EVERY ONE of my campaigns. Well, there’s no a rejuvenating whole damn species of this kind – Demon Clowns. At CR 20. When I first read this, I started laughing maniacally – acidic flower squirts, suffocating pies, shocking grips – and nigh indestructibility in the vein of liches. Yes, please, especially when supplemented by the 4 monster feats the build uses!
Next up is a preview of May’s upcoming 101 Variant Monsters-book in which classic creatures are modified in rather unique ways – take a peek, for I know it got me anticipatory regarding the release.
This issue’s interview is with Sneak Attack Press’ Matthew J. Hanson, who brought us not only the ennie-nominated, superbly useful Terrain Toolbox, but who is also busy crunching away at the Broken Earth post-apocalyptic sandbox he successfully kickstarted – upon release it might just be the thing Warlords of the Apocalypse-fans might use as a first module…
The issue closes with a massive array of different reviews of some of the finest pdfs out there by Megan Robertson and yours truly.
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn’t notice any significant glitches, though the formatting of the reviews could be a bit better – there are a lot of textblocks and one highlighted sentence (in the puppetmaster-review) doesn’t make that much sense to me. Layout adheres to RiP’s 2-column full color standard, and as mentioned, I really like the cover artwork. The magazine also comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
This issue of Pathways hits the nail on the head for me – whether it’s the demonic clowns or the template – I really, really like the twisted, evil glee the creatures evoke and the other articles don’t fall behind in quality. Since this pdf is FREE, I can only urge you to download it, read it and cackle with glee at the twisted prospects this issue offers. That being said, it’s a very creature/NPC-centric issue with no article useful for players, so that’s a minor detriment, but none that would make me deviate from a final verdict of 5 stars – well worth the space on your HD.