Monday, March 16, 2009

Review: Pathfinder #6 The Spires of Xin-Shalast (Part 2)

Continuing on with the review from yesterday.

As with all Pathfinders published to date, this one is in full color. Wayne again is the cover artist and has once again drawn up the giants, this time swinging the big sticks at the iconics. The interior art is excellent, and I do want to call out a couple of specific pieces. The opening picture on page 6, really sets the tone of the adventure with a shot from downtown Xin-Shalast. Its mountain top local, and along with its Asian flare are clearly visible in this work. Considering my current location, I am very fond of this piece. In addition, all the monsters in the bestiary have been drawn with a certain style, that I just really like. I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I am not sure which of the artists actually created them, and I wish that the artists names were more clearly indentified. I have to give props to WotC for listing out the artist next to their art in the 4th ed books, as I do think this is a nice touch, and it gives clearly gives credit where it is due.


With the completion of Pathfinder 5, the characters are well equipped to challenge Runelord Karzoug, in his mountain top abode. The only problem is that the exact location of Xin-Shalast is a bit of a mystery. A series of clues with lead the characters up to a dwarven outpost up in the Kodar Mountains. The characters arrive finding the place deserted of living creatures, and haunted by some dwarven ghosts. After defeating the an ancient terror of the mountains, and a bit of sleuthing, the characters find the map to Xin-Shalast. The trail takes them up through the mountains to a hidden trail that leads into the lower section of Xin-Shalast. Finding unexpected allies, the characters take to ascending the spires of Xin-Shalast to the final showdown with the Runelord.

Key features

There are a number of features that this module provides that I am going to list out below:

1. A lost city adventure, taking a new spin on a classic theme

2. A high-altitude adventure, with specific rules on how to give flavor to adventuring in this environment.

3. An expanded set of Lamyros (Lamia-kin), which greatly expands upon the fluff of the Lamias.

4. A fully mapped out lost city.

5. A bit of Lovecraft mythos included with a number of references to Leng.

6. The Pathfinder Journal, which continues the chronicles of Eando Kline.

Final notes

I really want to like this module more than I do. As I stated earlier, I have a lot of respect for Greg, and in general I really like his work. Clearly he put in a lot of effort on this one, as he practically wrote the entire thing. The lost city theme is a classic, and one that continues to be used in just about every entertainment media from movies, to books and everything in between. I really like the concept, with the Asian flavor. I also like what Greg did with the rules around adventuring in the mountains. I would be remiss if I did not mention the bestiary which is excellent. I can really appreciate the theme of the monsters as they are all excellent.

However, there are a couple of parts that seem a bit disjointed to me. Even though I am a fan of Lovecraft, the Leng story line feels a bit out of place. Likewise, the dwarven outpost encounter which is required to find the map to Xin Shalast feels a bit forced.

Overall, I do give this module a thumbs up, as there are a lot of things I do like about the module, which offsets some of the other items that feel forced.

Rating: 3.5 Dragons (on a scale of 5)

No comments: