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Kobold Quarterly Magazine #9 $5.99 $4.49
Average Rating:3.8 / 5
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Kobold Quarterly Magazine #9
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Kobold Quarterly Magazine #9
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Mark M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/20/2009 13:13:13

I have never before read Kobold Quarterly. I’m just going to put that out there to start out with, so you know where I’m coming from.

I had heard of it, certainly. I had listened to the Atomic Array talk about KQ 8, where they interviewed Wolfgang Baur, and thought it sounded interesting, but still, didn’t pick it up and read it. Wow, I was missing out!

The first thing that stood out was the great cover art. It’s very evocative, and makes me want to play a Kobold Dragon Sorcerer, like, now!

There’s a good editorial inside by Mr. Baur, discussing KQ’s plans to begin writing more 4e stuff.

It should be noted that this issue is for everyone. There’s 3e love as well as lots of stuff for 4e as well, which is good. This magazine would be nearly useless for me if it was only 3e, and I like that they feature 3e and 4e rules right next to one another.

There’s a good article titled Bard Life, which features a lot of new spells and options for the 3e bard. I would have liked to see some 4e bard stuff, but this had to have been made a while before PHB2 came out, so you can’t blame them.

Camazots, Bat God of the Underworld is a good article detailing a batlike minor god who is the diety of bats, vampires and the underworld. He has apparently been a part of the pantheon of Greyhawk for a long time, but being unfamiliar with Greyhawk, I cannot attest to that. Still, a well written 3e article covering his history, cults, allies and his realm. If you’re looking for an archnemesis for the heroes to fight that is perhaps even creepier than Vecna himself!

Unfamiliar Familiars covers many new familiars for spellcasters in 3e, detailing such creatures as Clockwork Beetles, gliding possums, and my favorite, the Blink Dog Pup. I have always loved Blink Dogs, and would love to play a halfling Wizard who had a pet Blink Dog pup. Very nice.

The Ecology of the Maenad is a well written article detailing creatures of pure emotion. Quite simply, I can’t see implementing them in my game, so I did gloss over it. If you’re interested in playing a creature that is a walking contradiction in 4e, however, the Maenad may be for you.

The best part of the whole magazine is undoubtedly the interview with Dave Arneson. I am one of the people who knew nothing about Mr. Arneson before he died. Not until the message about his illness came out did I begin looking into what he did. I knew cursorily that he was the co-creator of D&D, but had no idea about the other fascinating things about his life. The interview was very well handled, and is a testament to all that Dave had done with his very rich life. You will be missed, Dave.

The Living With Dinosaurs article is good, as it details a few new Dinosaurs for your 3e game, but I would have preferred the article be about 4e. Almost every 3e MM has rules for new Dinosaurs, but we get a measly two on page 31 of the 4e MM as “Behemoths”. I would like to incorporate these beasts into my game, but without the 4e rules, I’m kind of stuck, as I’m not good at 4e conversion yet.

The Kitsune article is very good, and excellent if you’re going to be running an Oriental Adventures 4e game. They are fox people who use magic to change form. Very interesting, and definitely something you should look into.

Never to be Broken: Sworn Oaths of Magic is a phenomenal article, and simple enough to be converted to 4e. It talks about people swearing oaths, the advantages they get, and the consequences of a breach of such an oath. Oaths include the Swordsman’s Creed, the Shining Oath, the Pledge of Baal and the Covenant of the Lich Hunter. The whole idea of this article reminds me of Roy Greenhilt’s Blood Oath of Vengence against Xykon in Order of the Stick, and would beg and plead with a DM to let me convert or make up my own oath.

There are a few other minor articles near the end, but I can definitely say that this magazine is worth picking up. I would like to see a little more 4e content, perhaps each article could have both 3e and 4e content, but I understand if that’s not possible because of the GSL (I’m not sure).

Now I just need to convince my wife to let me get a subscription…



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kobold Quarterly Magazine #9
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Benjamin M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/23/2009 06:47:58

This issue has the historic, final interview with Dave Arneson. For that alone it should not be missed. His contribution to the hobby can’t be overstated. It provides insights towards his feelings about the very nature of roleplaying games and antecdotes from Ed Greenwood, Matt Forbeck, and James Lauder serve as fine commentary. Personally, I second his attitude on rules lawyers.

The solid cover art suffers a bit from the text splatter, and see one of those stumbles before even cracking a page. A last minute article change seems to have escaped layout, leaving the Warlock-themed teaser without any associated prose. That’s going to frustrate folks hoping to enjoy increased 4E content. We’re told it’ll show up in #10…

The article split is 50/25/25. This seems like a good mix, with half of the material for OGL, a quarter for 4E, and a quarter system independent. Truthfully, three of the OGL articles would require little effort for conversions to 4E or Pathfinder. The independent stuff gives a new column by Monte, which is great for designers and GMs, the interview (of course!), and the book reviews. I think these elements especially help cement KQ's position as a gaming magazine, rather than an OGL or 4E publication.

The OGL material is a solid combination of flavor and crunch. I especially like the bard article, chock full of feats, spells, and alternate class options. The bandit lair comes in a close second, and fans of socially-focused games and the Open Design projects will enjoy the Courtiers of Zobeck article, though it’s probably more useful to those wondering how to add a bit of social interaction to their game. And I wonder how often a CR24 Bat-god avatar will see table time.

The 4E material follows a similar vein on mechanics and inspiration, providing two detailed races for play, though the Maedar also has conversion notes for the Pathfinder Beta system and the Kitsune received an online OGL treatment at koboldquarterly.com. While purely 4E, the Chasing the Grave article doesn’t skimp on the worldbuilding bits, and gives a couple of story seeds for inspiring dark 4dventure in a grim, urban setting.

There are a couple of editing issues, but apparently (according to twitter) the magazine is trying to use of out-of-house typesetting, and kinks aren’t all worked out yet. The art is maintaining a top-notch caliber, and the contributor list continues to boast veterans like Jeff Grubb, Monte Cook, and Richard Pett while giving newer voices an opportunity. I’m happy to keep up with KQ as it enters its third year; it seems to be maturing fantastically.

(I'm giving this review 5 here, despite the editing missteps, because it certainly does not deserve a 3, and I wholly disagree with the other review's comment about the interview. It's far better than a Q&A. It is most definitely a 4.5 effort.)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kobold Quarterly Magazine #9
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Daniel L. d. O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/13/2009 06:44:48

If you are buying this edition of KQ specially because of the Dave Arneson interview, you will be disappointed, as it is more of a Q&A than (really) an interview - altough it bring some interesting facts about Mr.Arneson later works and glimpses of his great personality.

But, all in all, a great edition of KQ.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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