Magazine Review: Adventure Quarterly, Issue #1 from Rite Publishing

Content is king, right? And he or she with the best content often wins, or at least gains more interest. One avenue to getting more content out in the ether is to create a blog. Or you could offer freebies to tempt folks to buy your products. Or… maybe you could create a magazine! d6 Magazine is an example of a recent free magazine created to share d6 content, combining two of those approaches.

Now we have Adventure Quarterly from Rite Publishing, seeking to offer another avenue for Pathfinder RPG content. Though RP has product lines like many companies, there are always those ideas that don’t fit cleanly in those existing boxes or that designers want to explore for potential inclusion or expansion down the line. The first issue came out recently offering a collection of three separate adventures along with some standalone bits from Adam Daigle, Tim Connors, Tim Hitchcock and Creighton Broadhurst.

The first adventure is called “Too Many Cooks” and mixes a bit of TV’s Hell’s Kitchen with magic and mystery. Somnal, City of Bridges, has several restaurants suffering from unexplainable mishaps – missing cooks, bakers forgetting to deliver rolls, untended stoves and grills… And the PCs must get to the bottom of it all.

In “The Book of Promises,” we go far beyond petty squabbles between insane chefs and go to devils seeking souls through their mortal agents. A secret group of clerics is collecting souls – 1,000 of them in fact – for their patron, the arch-devil Asmodeus. They’re close to achieving their goals, but there are groups working against them. When a flood crashes through the city of Vestage, it offers the clerics more souls for their book and their opposition an opportunity to try to steal and destroy the book. How will the PCs survive being caught in the middle of their struggle?

And lastly we have the “Soul Siphon” and bad King Xilomac of the Spirelands. He’s spread woe and misery for over a century, not only heartlessly abusing his people and enslaving them to his will, but also sucking their very souls to prolong his own life. The PCs are given an impossible task – enter the Spire of Raumuzarre, lair of Xilomac slowly sinking into the swamp it rests in – and defeat the King. Will they survive the innumerable horrors lying in wait for them in the spire?

In addition, there are a couple of extra goodies – a “Random Tribal Name Generator” and a description of “The Forked Legion” – the devil-worshiping clerics from “The Book of Promises.”

Firstly, everything in this nearly 80 page PDF is well written and clearly laid out. Also, there is plenty of art scattered every couple of pages. The quality is like other products from Rite Publishing – top-notch and crunchy. The PDF itself has a collection of bookmarks to quickly get you from section to section. I would have liked for the table of contents to offer hyperlinks to the various sections, but that’s a minor nit.

Second, each adventure was arranged in a similar manner with important details. You get a background, a synopsis, suggested plot hooks to get the PCs involved, then dive into the various locations and encounters. NPC details, monster details, item details – it’s all there as well as potential strategies for battles. This puts even beginning GMs in pretty good stead for a successful run.

The one thing I felt was missing from each of the three adventures was a description of the suggested levels of PCs it’s aimed at. “Too Many Cooks” does discuss character level a bit – “A party of first-level adventurers going through these encounters one after another is not going to survive…” But I would have liked to have seen that appear on the first page of the adventure so I understood the target levels up front. And I couldn’t really see much in the other two adventures suggesting the same, though based on the challenges of the latter two I’d recommend much higher-level characters or they won’t likely survive.

The level discussion may have been left out deliberately to offer inspiration to the GMs as they read through the content, but I think it’s needed along with a suggestion on the number of characters and classes that may be required to survive. The players and the GM need to know they have at least a good chance of success going in.

My only concern is the price. Right now a subscription to a year (four issues) of Adventure Quarterly is $29.99 (originally $39.96) at RPGNow/DriveThruRPG. Each individual issue will be $9.99. Kobold Quarterly, the gorilla on the block right now, is $29.99 for a year for a Print + PDF subscription and issues are available individually for $5.99 as PDF or $8.99 for Print + PDF. Though KQ goes for a slightly different audience with many smaller articles and a broader number of games covered, I’ll be interested to see how AQ does in the long haul posting longer adventures.

So if you’re looking for some new PFRPG content, I’d strongly encourage you to check out Adventure Quarterly. First, it’s well written. And second, there’s some great stuff in here for you to check out. Best of luck to Robert N. Emerson, the Editor-in-Chief and Ben McFarland, Assistant Editor and the rest of the gang
at Rite Publishing on pulling together the next issue for later this year!

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