Product-Darkwood Adventure Arc #1- The Deft and the Deadly
Price-~$13 available here
TL; DR– A well done 1st product from a new company-90%
Basics– Welcome to Darkwood, Mudder. Seeking either revenge, glory, or money, you and your friends stumble into Darkwood. This is a town on the fringe where several powerful people (and not people) battle for dominance in a new world. Can you make your name out here, or, will you end up face down in the mud you’re covered in? This is the first adventure in a five part series. Besides the adventure, the book provides large appendices on Darkwood, new items and diseases, example start characters, rules for coalition affiliations, NPCs, and a whole new world!
Fluff or Story– The people at Saga RPG put together a heck of a product for story. Every part of the town gets a bit of writing. All the shops have stories and a menu. The main story is more sandbox and with linier sections. This is to be expected as the characters are entering the world and have to be giving some quests to move them along, but eventually, the players are just told to have some fun and make some money in town. It’s a lot of fun. Aside from the main quest, the book covers a whole new world and its kingdoms. That’s pretty ambitious for a new RPG company’s first product. For less than a Paizo adventure product, you’re getting a higher page count of stories. I’m pretty intrigued on what going to happen over the course of this story. 5/5
Crunch or Mechanics-You don’t expect much mechanics from your standard adventure or a third party, but, these guys went above and beyond on this. There are a new mechanics ranging from measuring faction relationships to a new god with two new domains. Of course, there are new items and all the other standard things expected for a Pathfinder adventure, but, this comes from a third party. It’s well done, thought out, and an excellent addition to the systems library. 5/5
Execution– Here is the ONLY place I have negative things to save about this product, and at WORST these guys are above average. One thing I hate is recycled art. These guys reuse the same art a few times across their first book. The second thing I don’t like is there are some layout problems. It opens a little slow on my iPad, but that’s ok. However, there are some layout choices I would not have made for spacing. That leads to the third problem I have-“text book problem”. This book has A LOT to say. The book moves from AMAZING depth in a town to a whole new WORLD. That’s a lot of ground for one book to cover. That said the book covers it in depth, but does so with more than just a few pages of just text. That’s not the worst sin out there, but it makes this read a little like a text book in places. I would have liked a bit more art to interrupt the text, grab your attention, and guide the reader’s eye. But, I’d like to put that in perspective. I am complaining about there being too much in this book. 3.5/5
Summary-This is a well done product. If you’re tired of the Paizo product scene, this product is done well enough that is up there with a standard Paizo project with a compelling story and interesting additions to the system. I would like a player handbook like the other Pathfinder products I’ve read, but, this product is already full enough. My complains are in how this thing looks, not what it contains. This is one of the best Pathfinder products I’ve seen in a while. 90%
Disclosure– I was provided a review copy of this product.