Review: Rite Publishing – Adventure Quarterly #3 (Pathfinder)


Adventure Quarterly #3
Adventure Quarterly issue #3 is an epic fantasy magazine for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game written by Alex Putnam, Matt Banach, Michael Welham, Creighton Broadhurst, Steven D. Russell, and Robert N. Emerson and published by Rite Publishing.
By Cape Rust

Learn more about Adventure Quarterly #3 here
Purchase Adventure Quarterly #3 here
Find other Adventure Quarterly products here

Modules and pre-made adventures drove the RPG industry for years and are a mainstay to this day. Rite Publishing has reached into its stall of great writers and has unleashed their sick little monkey minds to putting their spin on what adventures could and should be.

CONTENT

This 69-page quarterly publication has 62 pages of content that include the editorial More Human than Human by Robert N. Emerson and 3 adventures for 3rd, 5th and 13th level characters. The Adventure for third level characters is entitled The Red Leaves Enigma by Alex Putnam. The 5th level adventure is entitled Dream Harvest by Matt Banach and the 13th level adventure is entitled Sealing the Vault by Michael Welham. Adventure Quarterly includes an installment of Dungeon Dressing that covers miscellaneous features by Creighton Broadhurst. The entire book is wrapped up with an article by Steven D. Russell entitled Getting Together and Staying Together.

OVERALL

Rite Publishing has the right idea with Adventure Quarterly #3 and executed it well. Many game developers are reaching back to the good ol’ days where there were a few big game developers that produced these books with soft, thin covers that came out at very specific time intervals and could be found on shelves or racks. One could even arrange to have these magical publications delivered to ones’ dwelling.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
The cover of this product is interesting; I would have liked to see the entire cover broken into separate quarters that better reflected the varied contents in this publication. I know it would have made things busy but it would have been cool, even breaking the cover into three sections with a creature, NPC or scene from each of the three adventures would have been kind of neat. As-is, the cover focuses on the first adventure The Red Leaves Enigma by Alex Putnam. Rite Publishing continues their practice of reusing art in the book, a common practice for many RPG developers. There is a much higher amount of color art in this product than I have seen in other Rite Publishing products. In digital form some of the art looks really pixilated. The jury is still out on the maps in this product; they are good enough, but I think some of them might have been better in black and white. The layouts are smooth and the fonts easily readable. The page borders are the standard sepia lion borders that Rite Publishing has used often.

Mechanics/Storyline: 8 out of 10
From the highest to lowest levels, the folks over at Rite Publishing know game mechanics. This is best illustrated in many of Matt Banach’s products that take place on the plane of dreams where several normal rules like gravity are often broken. The folks at Rite Publishing are not afraid to tackle tough situations that would normally cause long discussions at the gaming table, causing a significant loss of gaming time. As a GM I appreciate the way they write these potentially complex rules so that everyday folks can understand and use them. The biggest problem I had with these adventures was the amount of really blatant railroading built into them; with the first adventure The Red Leaves Enigma being the least “on rails.” Banach was the head conductor when it came to the railroading game, but that doesn’t mean the adventures are not mechanically sound or fun to play.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
The three adventures highlighted here should keep a gaming group busy for several gaming sessions at several different stages in their adventuring careers.  However, the size of the maps and their lack of scale make it difficult to make them work. The Dungeon Dressings and articles do have a universal gaming appeal, but they are just icing on the Pathfinder adventure cake that this book is.

Overall: 9 out of 10
If you are playing Pathfinder, Adventure Quarterly #3 will definitely give you the most bang for your buck; after all it was designed for Pathfinder. I would like to see Matt Banach step out of the dream realm and see what he can do when players have to have their feet on the ground. I love what he does on the plane of dreams and I understand why he dwells there so much, but I’d like to see a change of pace from him.  Dream Harvest really showed me just how much this product needs scaled maps as many of the encounters pre-suppose the use of miniatures. Sealing the Vault by Michael Welham was interesting, but it seemed like it had a back story that couldn’t be fully realized in this short adventure. This is not uncommon in higher level adventures, but I found the writing for this adventure confusing at times as Welham decided to explain what the creature “big boss” at the end had done to get to the end, and while the information was good, it muddied the waters a bit. It should be noted that these adventures rely heavily on possession of Pathfinder Bestiary 2.

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