Magazine Review: Kobold Quarterly, Spring 2012, Issue 21

There are few magazines these days that I will read every page, cover to cover. ArchaeologyBlack Gate… And Kobold Quarterly. That’s really it.

And KQ follows a similarly short list of gaming mags over the years that was limited to Dungeon and Dragon whenever I had the money to pick up an issue here or there. I have fond memories of reading each of those classic mags and pondering how I could apply, bend, twist, or mutilate the concepts for my own sessions. And now that I get KQ delivered to my mailbox, I get to revisit those youthful days each quarter. With glee.

Kobold Quarterly #21 was in my mailbox this week and I was greeted with the sultry pose of a wood nymph from artist Kieran Yanner looking like a green goddess beckoning me onward. How could I resist? And Wolfgang’s editorial explained the focus of the issue – Divine Magics – and why our sultry nymph was baring a bit more than some might like. (Not me, I think she’s gorgeous with a face that somehow reminded me of Adele…) Honestly, I’m not offended by a bit of skin now and then. It helps spice things up a bit. And the art in KQ is always top notch, so what’s the big deal?

Beyond that, there’s plenty of content to be excited about. The very first article, “The Shaman: A Spirit-Based Class for the Pathfinder RPG” by Marc Radle, offers a new way to look at the world as a PC. The whole concept of divining from entrails, watching flocks of birds, or patterns of bones and sand is fantastic. And the combination of druidic and priestly abilities could really make the Shaman an interesting class to play in a campaign. Can you imagine a character stopping in the road to kill a rat and decipher what the entrails mean?

From there, “Daughters of Lilith” by Sersa Victory follows up on the sexy promise of the cover with a lengthy explanation of the care and feeding of succubi. The full life cycle is detailed, with intricate details about their personalities, behavior, and even the differences between human and succubus organs! Sure, they typically want to take your soul in the bargain, but there are plenty of ways I could see them entering a campaign. Imagine a city-based campaign where some members of the upper-crust of society belong to a secret cult (be sure to read “It’s a Mystery!” by David “Zeb” Cook about inventing and using “mystery cults” in your campaign) that worships succubi for the favor of Lilith… Sure they’re sexy, but at one heck of a price to pay.

If you’ve ever felt that clerics never had to deal with corruption within their own organizations or truly difficult decisions, you should read all about “The Chosen One” as an ability for low-classed clerics in “Clerical Conflicts” by Tim & Eileen Connors. Sure, they can see good and evil in a person’s soul, but at a high cost. What happens if your order has been tainted by greed or evil? Who can you trust, if anyone? Or maybe the GM is seeking to test a cleric’s faith by having their deity forsake them, cutting them off from their divine power… The Connors’ have come up with some truly twisted ways to test a player’s roleplaying mettle!

Also included is a great interview with Bill Slavicsek (Director of R&D for Dungeons & Dragons until mid 2011) by Jeremy L.C. Jones in “Fun Happens Here.” I would love to have read of more of Bill’s GMing stories (or those of others in Bill’s group) like Steven Winter’s recollection of trying to keep a campaign on track. “We seldom managed more than five minutes at a stretch without breaking into a musical number, a political debate, a movie routine, rude jokes…” and “Bill had the patience of a saint trying to keep [us] on track.” But the interview itself revealed some of the long influences of Planescape as well as his GMing style and a bit of his journey from player to designer.

These are but a few of the articles in store for you in this issue. There’s also great content like “The Scriveners of Allain” by Brian A Liberge about a group of wizards practicing the dark arts of Glyph magic. Living glyphs prove without a doubt that words have power and this outlawed area of study should be explored further… “Nine Treasures of Deep Midgard” by Nicholas Milasich offering some great new items to tempt your PCs and NPCs… And much much more.

As per usual, the kobolds have pulled together another amazing issue of Kobold Quarterly. The inventiveness and ingenuity of the writers and editors continues to astound every few months. But don’t worry… I might just be done mining KQ#21 in time to read the next one in the Summer!

Check out KQ#21 at the Kobold Quarterly Store as well as at RPGNow/DriveThruRPGs!

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