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#30 Haunts for Kaidan (PFRPG) $3.96
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
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#30 Haunts for Kaidan (PFRPG)
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#30 Haunts for Kaidan (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/21/2012 14:38:42

The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=21908.

The islands of Kaidan are as haunted as they are old. The name Kaidan means “ghost story” in Japanese. The undying court is just that, undead! Using new and innovative undead variants and interesting storylines, Rite Publishing brings us 30 haunts that will scare your katana right out of its scabbard.

OVERALL

The #30 series has a reputation as a solid line of products that is just the right length. The product support for Kaidan follows the standard of excellence established by the #30 series. The combination of the two products is like combining chocolate and peanut butter or peas and carrots.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10

30 Haunts for Kaidan’s cover is a great example of the value of original art. The cover art evokes a haunted feeling. Not all of the “haunts” depicted on the cover are in the book, but that doesn’t matter. The art looks like it was taken from an old oriental painting and the style is dead on. The subtle black and grey map that forms the background of the cover not only provides a nice contrast to the wonderful art work, it looks great. While some might feel that the cover is a bit cluttered I would disagree. The inclusion of the Pathfinder and Kaidan logos lets me know the purpose of the product and what game it is intended to be used with. The bamboo boarder on the pages is still a great idea and with a little Photoshop love would be perfect.

The map on page 3 looks great and takes a unique approach to depicting the water. Instead of using one of the multitude hues of blue, the cartographer chose to go with a bamboo mat pattern, it takes a second to focus on the map as a whole, but it is well worth the miniscule effort. Apparently all ghosts of Monks look the same in Kaiden look alike. Both of the illustrations (page 9 & 18) are the same drawing. The illustration on page 18 is merely a close-up from the page nine drawing with some minor color changes, that drawing on page 18 felt phoned in. The full page drawing of the Kuchisake-onna or Slit-Mouthed Woman was a huge disappointment for me. I feel that if you are going to dedicate a full page to some art it should be worthy of full page treatment. This drawing is far from that. Due to the drawings size looks like most of it was done on a computer and not done extremely well. This drawing and a few others detracted from the flow of the book. If Rite Publishing had stuck to the cover art style this book would have been a 10; as is, it’s a 9 minus.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10 I am accustomed to Rite Publishing products earning 10 out of 10s and was surprised by a few minor omissions that really jumped out at me. Every haunt entry includes a Destruction entry that tells the GM how the players can stop the haunt. T.H. Gulliver is even kind enough to break down how much experience the players should get during the encounter depending on what aspects they defeat, what Gulliver forgot was to include the type of knowledge check and what DC that knowledge check should be. I am grateful for the EXP breakdown, but the knowledge check type and DC would have been much more useful. Other than this I felt the encounters and the creatures were balanced.

Value Add: 10 out of 10 This is where this supplement really shined! The storylines (based on ancient Japanese ghost stories) are what I found the most impressive. I was actually acquainted with the basis of the storylines introduced, having seen several Japanese horror movies and having played in many oriental settings. It wasn’t the originality of the storylines that got me, it was the association of the storylines with the haunts. It is easy to just throw undead at an adventuring party, developing a story behind why the undead are there and providing a solution to excising those undead, makes playing a Cleric so much more than a healer/turner. I recommend that every GM pick up this product and figure out how to place interesting haunts into their game as plot hooks.

Overall: 9 out of 10 With minor tweaking, any of the storylines and haunts in this product can be used in almost any fantasy setting. Using these haunts in a game will quickly move your Cleric to the spotlight in the best possible way. I hope that Rite Publishing is willing to do another #30 Haunts for various locations in the Pathfinder setting. This product is scary good!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Haunts for Kaidan (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/26/2012 06:00:16

This installment of RiP's #30-series takes us to Kaidan. It's a whopping 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 4 pages advertisement, 1 page back cover and 1 page SRD, leaving 19 pages of content for the new haunts, so let's check out whether T.H. Gulliver can maintain the extremely high standard set by the predecessors.

Indeed, the introduction of the supplement is awesome - an IC-narration including a new magic items to find haunts (and the way to Kaidan!) is an awesome, efficient way to immediately captivate the reader's attention and the one-page legend "The Paths of Destruction" adds to this sense of immersion, providing a great narrative framing for the haunts. Different kinds of haunts and their respective, special rules are explained to GMs who have, as of yet no experience with the #30-haunt-books.

There is a definite sense of otherness, of the Kaidanese exotic karmic morality gone wrong inherent in the haunts and in contrast to other haunt-books, we also get stats for variant wights, an unique undead, ghost monks, a multi-classed tengu-vampire, a raven herald of madness, carrionstorms and even the dread wide-grinning women. The pdf provides plenty of stats to accompany haunts. While haunts are somewhat like traps with stories, this is even more true in this supplement - the haunts come with a vast amount of background information, a darkest legend that, like a blood-red thread, runs through this whole supplement. More importantly, these haunts are CREEPY, well-thought out and yet distinctly Kaidanese.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. the pdf adheres to the bamboo-lined, beautiful Kaidan-layout and the artworks are neat for the low price. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks. I'm starting to sound like a broken record that heaps superlative over superlative of praise on T.H.Gulliver's haunts and even though it seems hardly possible, this installment even surpasses the previous offerings of the #30-series. The added stats, legends etc. make me crave a full-blown horror-adventure, be it in Kaidan or another setting - in fact, with some work, you might craft an organic adventure from this supplement. My final verdict will be 5 stars and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval - be sure to check this out!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Haunts for Kaidan (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/16/2012 06:59:41

Originally Published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/01/16/tabletop-review-30-haunts-for-kaidan-pathfinder/

30 Haunts For Kaidan is not only the newest entry in Rite Publishing’s “#30 Haunts For…” series, but it’s also the newest release for the Kaidan campaign setting. If you’re new to Kaidan, think Ravenloft meets Kara-Tur and you have the right idea. It’s my favorite Pathfinder setting so far and because of the spooky cursed natures of Kaidan, giving it a “#30 Haunts” entry made perfect sense. I’m a big fan of the “#30 Haunts” line, and we even gave #30 Haunts For Objects our award for “Best Supplement” in 2011, so I was really looking forward to the latest entry in the series. I’m happy to say that #30 Haunts For Kaidan is very well done. It’s not as good at its predecessor and what’s here is of use to a very limited audience since most of the haunts won’t transfer very well to a different setting, but the writing and originality is as great as always.

Although the page count for #30 Haunts of Kaidan is twenty-eight pages, please note the actual content only runs twenty-one pages, and that includes the cover and table of contents. The last seven pages of the pdf are ads and legal mumbo-jumbo. I can some people being annoyed by this, but even discounting the ads, there’s still more content here than in previous #30 Haunts pieces, so bear that in mind. Plus the ads are all at the end making it easier to skip over without ruining the mood of the piece.

30 Haunts For Kaidan is noticeably different from previous “30 Haunts” releases. Instead of thirty haunts that can be placed into any adventure or setting, the haunts here are for specific locations and adventure hooks. As well, in previous releases haunts were independent of each other, while in #30 Haunts For Kaidan, many of the haunts are interconnected. This change is neither bad nor good, it simply reflects creating a “#30 Haunts” piece for a specific campaign. It also allows this supplement to have a stronger narrative for the haunts, along with detailed background information about them. 30 Haunts For Kaidan starts off with a brief narrative fiction which leads into a magical item that can be used to guide characters to Kaidan, which is then followed by a description of five haunt categories. From there the supplement breaks down into nine “chapters,” each giving a short story about the origin on the haunts, accompanied by gameplay information for the haunts themselves. Many of the haunts also include specific creatures to go with them for added challenge, all of which are some sort of undead. This allows characters to test their physical might as well as their wits. The haunt associated monsters also helps to flesh out each of the eight chapters so that an enterprise GM can form full adventures from each one. In fact, with nine chapters becoming nine adventures, you have enough content in this little supplement to form the basis of a chronicle for your friends. That’s a great deal, especially with the $3.99 price tag.

Each of the nine chapters have very different settings and stories. “Paths of Destruction” revolves around a cursed well and an evil lantern that hides the true nature of the undead. “Itakeo’s Blight” uses a haunted monastery. “Troubles at Kuriayama” involves the remains on a village completely wiped out by a malicious evil. “Grave Warning” is about the curse of a Yakuza Lord from beyond the grave. “Akai Kinoko Haunts” is about cursed mushrooms and a lust for vengeance. “A Samurai’s Resolve” entails the will of a lawful good samurai corrupted by time. “Exiled From the Imperial Court” revolves around the intrigue an evil of a ruling class of undead. “The Night of the Curs” are phantom events of a great political massacre that reveal themselves even while the government tries to cover up that the original event ever happened. Finally “Kuchisake-onna” isn’t as much a haunt as it is a curse brought on by a specific undead entity. Each of these chapters will be a lot of fun for a group of players who enjoy both ancient Japan and a more spooky atmosphere ala Ravenloft or Call of Cthulhu. Unfortunately, it would be hard to move any of these haunts from the Kaidan setting, which means you really can’t get much use out of this supplement unless you are intent on playing there. If not, it merely becomes an interesting read and little more.

All in all, I really enjoyed #30 Haunts for Kaidan. I’m a big fan of Japanese folklore and if I’m going to play a D&D-esque game, I prefer a more esoteric setting like Kaidan. While this makes this supplement perfect for someone like myself, I also realize that it’s also a very niche piece that only gamers who have already invested in Kaidan will be able to use to its potential. Sure it could also work in a Kara-Tur or Ravenloft campaign, but even that will take a little bit of fiddling by the GM.

If you’re a fan of the “#30 Haunts” series or you just like atmospheric pieces about spooky locations, you’ll want to pick up #30 Haunts For Kaidan. It’s a wonderful piece and at only $3.99, it won’t break the bank if you’re unsure about using the campaign setting this takes place in. Definitely pick it up if you’re at all curious.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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