The 52nd installment of Rite Publishing’s free monthly e-zine Pathways clocks in at 50 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 12 pages of advertisement, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
As per the tradition of Pathways, we begin with David Paul’s editorial and then, a new template crafted by Steven D. Russell and an accompanying sample creature. This time around, we get the walking wasteland CR+2 template, which renders creatures truly toxic/putrid – healing-impediment and spoiled foods and drinks, courtesy of these beast’s auras, accompany them like the noxious, poisonous clouds that never stray far from them – oh, and the very attacks of these beings corrode magical items and their mere presence also shatters objects. Yes…these guys are AWESOME! A sample creature is provided with a CR 4 blink dog (featured on the cover) – which is more deadly thanks to its auras and blinking than you’d expect from the CR. Devilish and nasty! Two thumbs up!
Mike Welham also has an article for us – one that depicts a multitude of alchemical cures – both for poisons and other ailments. These items, while all solid and awesome, can be quite a godsend. On the one hand, they deemphasize the requirement for divine magic defeat particular ailments. At the same time, this does take a bit away from e.g. the threat of some sicknesses/poisons. Still, particularly for a low (or high!) magic game, this chapter is more than welcome. The alchemical item that allows low level characters to participate in under-water exploration also is quite frankly amazing. Why am I not complaining about the potions having these low prices? Well, the miracle cures can have a plenitude of nasty side-effects – which are represented by 2 neat and awesome tables – ignore for high fantasy, capitalize on them for low fantasy. Great way to take table variation into account!
Ceighton Broadhurst, mastermind of Raging Swan Press, is next up with dressing – 20 chests and 20 things you’ll find in vermin-infested dungeons can be used to supplement perhaps the most useful book in my library (GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing, my Number 1 Top Ten product of last year!). So yes, these dressings are neat indeed!
Since poisons are something of a theme here, Jonathan McAnulty presents us with several quirks that allow you to be poisonous and touched by the darkness…or perhaps, you have a developed immunity? Anyways, I thoroughly enjoy these quirky traits and the penalty associated with each maintains balance versus the more significant benefits they provide. Like it! This section saw me wanting more!
This is also the time, when we return to the Leviathan Archipelago (in the Questhaven setting), courtesy of the penmanship of Elton Robb, covering the island of Saanata (And pointing you towards some neat game-books to further flesh out the culture…) No, before you ask, this is not explicitly required, since the idea here is intriguing: Polynesian culture is reappropriated to fit with the gillmen in an interesting kind of ecology/cultural overview, while showing awareness of e.g. the excellent Cerulean Seas-supplements by Alluria Publishing, including providing racial buoyancy and depth tolerance rules for the race – awesome! It should also be noted, that Elton’s writing shows significant improvement here – while the sentence structure still is a bit on the short side here and there, the well-researched text proved to be more captivating than anything I had read from him prior to this – so be sure to give this a look – content-wise, it is an inspiring glimpse at a unique setting!
The interview this time around is with none other than the man behind the monthly comic and a lot of the artwork you’re looking at – Jacob Blackmon! I encourage you to read it – it’s inspiring and also a great way to see how my friend Joshua’s influence is felt to this day.
We close this issue, as always, with reviews by yours truly.
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-colum full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience. The cover-art is neat.
The patreon-model that now supports this monthly e-zine has been good for Pathways – this installment sports not only more content, what#s here also ranks among the finer installments in the magazine’s long and colorful run. More importantly, it’s FREE. As in, it costs NOTHING. Go ahead and download it – even if you dislike the quirks or the alchemical items, the template alone is worth the time to download this…and hey, you never know when you’ll need some Polynesian flavor and ideas, right? All in all, this is one of the best Pathways and, being FREE to boot, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.
Want to support Pathways? You can do so here on Pathways’ patreon!