Pathways #13 continues the excellent work one has come to expect from previous issues. Weighing in at 43 pages, this issue continues it's standard of support for the 3PP community with no less than 18 pages of ads. Not to shabby when you stop and think that this is a Rite publishing project, and they are helping to spread the word about far more than their own products, heck there's even ad space given over for Kobold Quarterly.
Starting us off with a cover that...OK, let's just stop for a second here...this cover, the level of artwork demonstrated here, amazing just doesn't really quite cover it folks, and this level of art is gracing a free periodical. Oh, and for the record, it's also on an internal page, sans text, ripe for printing and framing for the wall.
This issue kicks off with David Paul taking a moment to pass out some heartfelt thanks to those who've helped Pathways pass the one year mark. Looking over the list of names of both contributors and artists you realize very quickly how many of those names are attached to products we've all spent money for, and here, within the pages of Pathways, is even more material from these folks, for free.
Steven Russell again shows us why he's in this business with the template Prideful Creature. Designed to allow you to add that fallen concept to those great and legendary beings of good, the template has several really cool concepts (with a darkly humorous touch) like their dedication to themselves being so great that they gain a Charisma bonus to their AC and certain saving throws, or their arrogance being so palpable that it grants a bonus on combat. As always, after presenting us with a new template one can not wait to run off and play with, Steven keeps us enraptured by presenting a sample creation using said template. This time out, we are giving that very same Couatl from the cover. The idea of a Prideful Couatl is brilliant, and really helps concrete just what type of creatures this template would shine through if used with. After a brief look into the mindset of this Prideful Couatl, we are given one new Monstrous feat – Improved Constrict, and two new spells – Scapegoat, Greater and Escape the Bonds of Flesh, the latter spell literally animating a living person's skeleton, which then fights to tear itself free from its fleshy prison.
Jonathan McAnulty introduces us to the followers of two of the sub-domains of the destruction domain, rage and catastrophe, as well as those who follow these paths in the article A Righteous Wrath. As well as detailing the mindsets behind those who willingly seek destruction and their God's touch in the wanton waste of natural disasters, we are also given a small treat that I for one love finding, books to be added to a campaign world. Three such books are introduced here, one being a collection of scattered pages with a fantastic story, another a hymnal, and the last being a scroll. Touches like these are always a good find, for adding manuscripts and tomes to a world adds another layer of depth that reminds players the world is bigger than just what they affect. Two new feats, and seven new Channeling Effects round out this section. For those not familiar with Channeling Effects, you should refer to The Secrets of Divine Channeling. Tobey Gregory's two pieces of B&W artwork are a fantastic addition to this article, and will surely be snatched up by players and GM's alike for PC pictures.
Creighton Broadhurst reminds us all just how dangerous a bulette can be with the encounter Hunter of the Crumbled Cliff. Placing this encounter within a treacherously fragile area of hills, the PCs must contend with not only the bullete, but a section of cliff falling and bringing down a hillside, revealing an orc burial grounds. Featuring Hugo Solis' excellent interpretation of the bulette for a full color piece of artwork, this encounter reminds me why Creighton's Raging Swan Press imprint is a player in the overall 3PP market.
This month's issue of Pathways sees a new feature added, the Avant-Garde Archetype. Along with our monthly creature template, Steven now promises to deliver to us a new archetype as well, and opens the door for submissions. So, what do we get for our first one? The Black Cat Burglar gives some love to the LuckBringer class, in the form of one who inflicts bad luck upon those around her, and takes advantage of the ensuing situations. An interesting concept, and one I can see a lot of potential in.
Twenty Questions this time around is with Timothy “Hawkins” Wallace, whose project The Martial Arts Guidebook is the current Rite Publishing patron project. I always enjoy reading the interviews, as putting a face and a personality to those behind the scenes adds more in my opinion to a consumers loyalty to game designers, and those working within the industry.
Closing out this months Pathways is, as always, a collection of reviews from Thilo “Endzeitgeist” Graff and Dark Mistress. And, I would be remiss if I failed to mention, this issue marks my own first published review as well. So I will close this review by again thanking Steven D. Russell and Rite publishing for including my review.
It would be hard not to give this issue a full 5 stars, lol.
[5 of 5 Stars!]