The 50th installment of Rite Publishing’s FREE e-zine clocks in at 44 pages, 1 page front cover, 11 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page editorial/ToC, leaving us with 30 pages of free content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
We begin this installment with David Paul’s editorial recapping the journey of the magazine so far before we are introduced to Steven D. Russell’s new template – the grandmaster creature. At CR +4, it renders the target lawful and allows for the creature in question to assemble a cabal of creatures that can be teleported to the grandmaster creature by uttering their name. When calling the cabal, the grandmaster also receives a significant buff -better yet, the cabal receives essentially mini-templates – brute, genius, mystic and sniper all provide multiple unique abilities for the cabal members with the respective designated roles. Finally, disparaging remarks can be uttered as swift action debuffs for foes and the level 15 hobgoblin war master used as a sample creature can be considered a fun foe to throw at your players. A great template indeed!
Raging Swan Press mastermind Creighton Broadhurst also has something nice for us – a nice dressing article that provides no less than 20 sample things your PCs may find in a pit as well as 20 things to be found in a sea cave – nice! And yes, you should get GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing and GM’s Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing, my number one choices of best product of 2014 – they indeed will enrich your game!
Thereafter, we dive into Elton Robb’s first article covering the Leviathan Archipelago – the Questhaven setting’s tropical/(under-)water-themed regions. Utilizing concise terminology, we are introduced to the concept of Light Zones, going on to explain the undersea topography and concepts like photic and aphotic zones in a concise and easily understood manner. Benthic Zones and their respective categories are also covered herein, with water pressure and currents also being noted. Bends and various means of covering pressure and its dangers have also been provided. Oh, what’s that? You already have Cerulean Seas, the definite resource for underwater adventuring? Great, then you’ll be excited to hear that this series endeavors to provide full-blown synergy with those races and rules. And yes, this has only further enhanced my vast anticipation of Questhaven and makes me look forward to the cultures hinted at in future installments!
Speaking of Questhaven – Steven D. Russell does provide a write up of Our Mother of Many Ways, a deity of both wine and inspiration, knowledge and madness, associated with hyenas. With the two nice subdomains, inspiration and prophecy, the well-written article receives some nice crunch back-up. 3 feats that allow you to convey retributive madness afflictions or make wine into a lethal poison – ouch! I’m very weary of a feat that lets you 3/day activate revelations with an activation of 1 round or less as a swift action -with a lack of prerequisites and a very broad focus, this feat can result in some rather powerful combos and personally, I allow too many sources to consider it a smart idea. The article also provides a rather interesting Paladin archetype – the Joyous Brother/Sister – essentially a chaotic good paladin with an aura of hope. These guys replace spells with wine-filled barbarian rage and may, at higher level, grant this euphoria-induced state to allies via the expenditure of uses of smite evil. The archetype is well-crafted and unique and comes with its own creed – neat!
David Paul showcases hereafter some of his Forest Spells (review coming soon!) before we get an interview with Owen K.C. Stephens – designers, take a look!
After this, we get a showcase of some of the best 3pp-products out there, with highly-rated product-reviews by Trev W. and yours truly before Jacob Blackmon’s Path Less Travelled webcomic ends the book on an upbeat note.
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing’s two-column full-color standard with some nice full-color and stock-art pieces inside. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed free products, mainly because I think my readers can easily verify for themselves what they like or don’t like. With the sheer amount of books to cover, I try to tackle those first and thus, alas and much to my chagrin, I had less time than I would have liked to devote to Pathways-reviews.
Personally, I always enjoy my free monthly Pathways fix and I always gladly find my reviews published there. There usually is something awesome in each issue and quite a few articles in the magazine’s history have made their way into my game. So yes, this is nice content FOR FREE. That’s very hard to beat, you know – and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this FREE e-zine here on OBS!
Oh, and know what? If you want to support this free e-zine and help it grow, you can do so now on the Pathways-patreon.