Well, it’s been a while. No excuses for it, I’ve just been very, very slack on posting. I’m going to try to get myself back to weekly updates, hopefully on Saturdays or Sundays. To make it easy for now, I’m going to start off with book reviews just to get going again.
So on that note, let’s start with a review of the latest Pathfinder Tales novel.
Full Disclosure: I was provided with an e-book of this novel by the author for review purposes. This has in no way influenced my opinion of the work, and this review is a full, fair and honest accounting of my thoughts on it.
Forge of Ashes
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Akina Fairingot, the angriest dwarf on Golarion, prepares to lay a beatdown onto a Forgefiend.
And we’re back, with the third interview of the week, and probably the last for a little while. Don’t worry, more interviews will be forthcoming, as soon as I can find anyone willing to sit still long enough for me to bombard them with questions. As I’ve mentioned before, this interview is actually the first one I had scheduled, but was delayed due to the need to get the other interviews published while the related Kickstarter campaign still had plenty of run time. That’s out-of-the-way now, so it’s finally time.
After I reviewed Wendy N. Wagner’s first novel, Skinwalkers, I decided on a whim to send an email to Wendy asking if she would be interested in being my first interviewee for the blog. I’d been vaguely thinking about starting to try to interview various authors, designers and so on for a little while, and it seemed like an opportune time to start, since I was curious about the differences between writing short fiction and writing a novel, as well as the process of writing for an established setting like Pathfinder. Email sent, I figured it’d be a while before I heard back, and was pleasantly surprised to get a reply from Wendy within the next day, agreeing to the interview. So I whipped up some questions, fired them off, and am now ready to share the responses.
Now, before we get started, if you haven’t read my review of the novel Skinwalkers yet, I recommend doing so first. It might help give some context. You can find the review here: Review – Pathfinder Tales: Skinwalkers.
Wendy N. Wagner, wearing what looks like a Lovecraft eZine t-shirt. Who doesn’t love Lovecraft?
As I mentioned last time, I’ll be reviewing the latest Pathfinder Tale’s novel, The Redemption Engine. Please take this as your warning for potential minor spoilers for the novel, because damn it I have to talk about it to review it, now don’t I. Not much else to say really, so let’s just get straight to it.
The Redemption Engine
James L. Sutter
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Salim, Pathfinder’s answer to Captain Jack Harkness, faces off against an angel. Wait a second… aren’t angels the good guys? Like, by definition? What gives?
From the Paizo.com blurb:
When murdered sinners fail to show up in Hell, it’s up to Salim Ghadafar, an atheist warrior forced to solve problems for the goddess of death, to track down the missing souls. In order to do so, Salim will need to descend into the anarchic city of Kaer Maga, following a trail that ranges from Hell’s iron cities to the gates of Heaven itself. Along the way, he’ll be aided by a host of otherworldly creatures, a streetwise teenager, and two warriors of the mysterious Iridian Fold. But when the missing souls are the scum of the earth, and the victims devils themselves, can anyone really be trusted?
From acclaimed author James L. Sutter comes a sequel to Death’s Heretic, ranked #3 on Barnes & Noble’s Best Fantasy Releases of 2011!
Hey guys. There won’t be a recap of last night’s Reign of Winter session today, because I had to call it off at the last-minute.
My friend Edwin made a valiant effort at stopping a goal in hockey yesterday, but got a high-speed booted kick in the jaw for his trouble (not intentional, the guy was just running hard as he could, and ran straight through Eddie, taking a tumble himself in the process), and his wife is currently out-of-town. So I called Jimbles, let him know what had happened, picked up some Goodberry’s frozen custard and rolled around with a bag of DVDs to keep him company and make sure he was okay. I think the rest of the group understands, when a friend is hurt and needs you, they take priority. He would have done the same for me if the roles had been reversed… Hell, over the years he’s done things like this for me countless times. The strangest thing about the whole situation though was the song I was listening to when I got his call… I’d been listening to various OSTs all day for inspiration while writing, and decided to swap over to Chevelle’s latest album, La Gárgola. Track 4 had just got through the intro when I got the call. The name of the track? Jawbreaker. Ah Synchronicity, your sense of humour is as gloriously dark as ever.
Anyway, he’s fine now, though still very sore. And I promised an update today, so even though I don’t have a session to recap (and won’t until June, at least not for Pathfinder, as the group have other commitments until then), I had to come up with something for you. Which is when I realised that this is the perfect opportunity to stop thinking about reviews, and actually write some. I’m going to start with something a bit easier to review than source books though, since that involves having to weigh up concepts of game balance, playability and so on. So my first review is going to be for one of the more recent Pathfinder Tales novels, Skinwalkers.
I’m really sorry guys. I know I said I’d have the next lot of reviews up over a week ago now, but there are a number of factors just killing me at the moment. Work is getting busy again (I’ve got a pretty much day long meeting tomorrow, which leaves me wiped) and I’ve had some unpleasant stuff happening outside of work as well… today was a prime example, since first thing this morning I got to simultaneously face my fear of needles and my general fear of even minor medical procedures, and spent the rest of the day feeling like crap once the anaesthetic wore off, which left me not really wanting to write much. I’ll try to get some more done on it tomorrow if I’m doing okay after the meeting, and I’ve expanded the goal to get four movies reviewed in this update so I can get a bigger chunk out of the way. I’m pretty disappointed in myself for letting it slip this far yet again, but unfortunately that’s the way things turned out. Not much else I can say beyond that.
Now for the good news. There’s a couple of things to mention here.
So, once again I’m bloody sick. I’m seriously starting to wonder if my body is ever going to completely recover from the series of respiratory tract and chest infections I had during and after my visit to China. I’ve been coughing on and off since then, even after a third round of antibiotics to clear out the last of the infection. Thankfully this time it doesn’t seem to be too bad, though I am more than a little annoyed that I started getting ill the Saturday before a week off on leave. Again with the coughing, but it’s not as nasty as last time. No fever either, just a constant dull ache all over my body. Still, I’m not going to let that stop me from going to see Lindsey Stirling tomorrow night. I’ve been looking forward to this for a month now, and I’ll be damned if illness is going to keep me from it… I’ll just have to stand very quietly at the back and hope there’s some seating available.
Anyway, now that I’ve got my bitching out of the way, it looks like it’s time for another update. As I mentioned last time, this is going to be an introduction to the Reign of Winter campaign that Jimbles is running for me. I was quite excited to have a chance to play in a Pathfinder game, as normally I end up running them, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to actually be a player in a D&D 3.5 game, and I’ve never yet been on the player’s side of the GM screen in Pathfinder, apart from once with a group that fell apart within the first session.
Today I just wanted to share something that I’ve learnt from spending half of my life as a role-player on both sides of the GM’s screen. This is probably going to come across as a rant, and if I’m being honest, that is exactly what it is. But I like to think that it’s a justified rant, and also fairly topical at the moment given a situation that is occurring in a game that I run.
Welcome back to Cooking the Cosmos. My apologies for the extended delay on getting this posted, over the last few days my internet access has been incredibly unreliable, and I ended up frustrated to the point of giving up until it decided to start playing nice again. Now that the worst of it appears to be over, I figure it’s time to get back in business.
As I said last time, this update will focus on choosing a system for your campaign setting. I find that it’s best to choose a system as early as you possible, as it gives you a framework of game mechanics to build within. There are three major questions to consider when making this decision, so I’ll be using both the Project Helleborus and Urban Magic campaign settings to help demonstrate the process.
I know it’s a bit late, but merry Christmas to all! I hope everyone had an excellent time with friends and family, and had plenty of good food and drink. I did intend to have this and the next part of Cooking the Cosmos posted before Christmas, but unfortunately I ran out of time, what with preparations for the shutdown period at work, and needing to travel to visit my family. Still, on the plus side, since this is now a post-Christmas update, I can say thank you to everyone for the awesome loot I received. All of my gifts were thoughtful and much appreciated, but I’d like to give special thanks to the following people for presents that were extra special to me:
Nell, who baked me delicious white chocolate and raspberry cookies. Nell runs the food blog I Need a Feed, which can be found at http://ineedafeed.wordpress.com/, and she’s an excellent cook.
Elena, who gave me a set of green and black d10s that will be perfect for our weekly World of Darkness game. Elena also helps keep me fit by dragging my lazy rear up Mount Ainslie every Saturday, so a big thank you for that.
My housemate, Graham, for a Netgear wireless adapter that can actually make use of the ac protocol capabilities on my new router, as well as a couple of custom t-shirts based on Gravity Falls and Ugly Americans.
My Parental Units, for a new queen-sized bed and mattress, as well as helping me buy a new washing machine.
My brother, for giving me some money to buy some Pathfinder source books that I’ve had my eye on for a while now.