Ring Side Report-Book Review-The Anatomical Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors

Book Review-The Anatomical Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors

Author– Luis Merlo

Book- ~$3 here https://petersengames.com/the-games-shop/the-anatomical-guide-to-lovecraftian-horrors/

TL; DR– Lovecraft forensics! 90%

Basics-What horrors lurk in the shadows?  The Anatomical Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors is what would happen if a forensic pathologist was let loose into the world of Lovecraft and wrote a textbook of his or her findings.  Monsters from across the mythos are given multi page write ups and each has detailed anatomy drawings showing how they tick. Let’s look at the pieces that are here!

Characters, Setting, and Story-This isn’t a story book.  This is a textbook, but a textbook you will want to sit down and read.  It’s one fan’s gruesome love letter to hard science and Lovecraft in one well done package.  Monsters from across the mythos get pages that you can dig into and see how the creatures work at a detailed level, even down the musculature in some cases.  This is just one Lovecraft lover’s take on things, but it is well done, detailed, and something that serious fans will enjoy.  5/5

Execution-PDF available? Yes!  Hyperlinked? No…   This is a well laid out book as the book itself reads easily, has nice pictures, and is a quick read.  You can find your favorite monster, read about it, and get great pictures that you can use in any horror game you want to run.  I do like what’s here, but I would like just a bit more.  It’s short, but considering my main components are wanting more, I think this is a solid product.  4.5/5

Summary-I’m a scientist and I’ve had to read my fair share of textbooks.  None are nearly as entertaining as this book.  I also love Lovecraft, and I enjoy the two being put into one blender.  If you don’t want detailed explanations of cosmic horrors, then avoid this book.  If you want to see how one fan explains the things that go bump in the night and across the cosmos in an extremely well done manner, then pick up this book.  90%.

Book Bout-Book Review of The Fuller Memorandum

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Book– The  Fuller Memorandum

Author– Charles Stross

Voice- Gideon Emery

Book- ~$8 http://www.amazon.com/Fuller-Memorandum-Laundry-Files-Novel/dp/044102050X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1420247010&sr=1-1&keywords=the+fuller+memorandum

Audiobook- ~$15  http://www.audible.com/pd/The-Fuller-Memorandum-Part-1-Audiobook/B004V4O9W6

TL; DR– Sit down and learn about the Laundry.  93%

 

Basics-Bob Howard has been pulling a few too many hours at the Laundry.  He makes a rookery mistakes that shouldn’t happen, and now is sent out on personal leave after someone dies.  However, strange cults across the world never take personal leave.  Can Bob survive an attack on the Laundry, keep his sanity, and learn more about some ancient Laundry secrets?

 

Characters– Bob’s really Bob in this one.  Moe is Moe, and you also get to learn a bunch more about the other characters in the Laundry with this one.  Based on the previous books, every character is well described for the new readers, and every character stays in character all the way through this book.  Excellently done.  5/5

 

Setting– I have never been to England and much less to London.  But, Stross does a great job of describing the city and making me see places and geography in my head.  It almost makes me want to go and see if I could track Bob through the city and see the hidden sights Bob describes. 5/5

 

Story-The Laundry is a book series about middle management always screwing with the people who actually get the work done.  However, I can’t see how anyone might get their work done when they have to account for everything even when they know the penalty for such actions is not being able to get fired?  I’m complaining a bit, but I don’t enjoy the amount of possible threats from inside the Landry.  That kinds of gets a bit boring.  What I did enjoy was the amount you get to learn about the history of the laundry.  Stross does an excellent job of telling bits of Landry and character history over the course of the novel.  I loved that even if I didn’t enjoy the internal threats and bureaucracy as much. 4/5

 

Summary-I really like the Laundry novels.  Stross does an excellent job of bringing Cthulhu mythos to the masses while still being true to its roots.  I do bet a bit bored with the inter-Laundry problems, but this one is a great read.  I got to learn a bunch about the Laundry and its members.  This was done in some text dumps, but it was done in a smart way throughout the book.  If it’s at least as good as this one, I can’t wait to pick up the next one!  93%.

 

Audiobook Extra- Gideon Emery is Bob.  And, he also does a great female voice with an accent as Moe is in this novel a lot.  Well done! 5/5

Book Bout-Book Review of The Jennifer Morgue

Book– The Jennifer Morgue

Author– Charles Stross

Voice- Gideon Emery

Book- ~$8 http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Morgue-Laundry-Files-Novel/dp/0441018149/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1420067745&sr=1-1&keywords=the+jennifer+morgue

Audiobook- ~$15 http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Jennifer-Morgue-Audiobook/B003E8AA2I

TL; DR– A twisty turny international affair  95%%

 

Basics-Bob Howard still works for the laundry.  Now instead of fighting domestic terrorists and interoffice politics, he’s dragged into the world of international super spies by being paired with sexy she sea devil trying to stop a plan that will not only fight a crazy American billionaire but the most devious of evils-POWERPOINT!

 

Characters– Stross writes some great characters.  The sexy she spy Ramona Random is well done.  She starts off standoffish, but through some show/don’t tell you learn a ton of her background.  The second main character Bob Howard is done well.  There are a few moments where he does some stuff that seem out of his character.  It’s not horrible by any means, but there are a few moments like when Bob and Ramona go swimming together that I feel he doesn’t feel quite right. 4.75/5

 

Setting– The setting is the Caribbean.  Bob doesn’t spend a ton of time at the office, and that really only helps the setting.  Bob gets to go somewhere without florescent lights, and he takes us with him.  Since this place is new to me, I felt like I was taken on a new and exciting trip. 5/5

 

Story– The story of this book is a fun one.  It’s full of all kinds of twists and turns following all the old cliché’s of a Bond novel.  Some of these twists you won’t see coming, and that makes it all the more fun.  There are a few dull moments that are not as fun, but overall you will enjoy this one. 4.5 /5

 

Summary-I love the Laundry books.  Stross does a great job of bringing the Lovecraft and mixing it with the science.  That’s a fun combination.  This story has several different perspectives that all build a great cohesive tale together.  It’s a fun romp that will twist and turn, and you will enjoy every minute of it. 95%.

 

Audiobook Extra- Gideon Emery does a good job being Bob Howard.  He sounds English enough and as much of a technogeek as Bob is.  Well done. 5/5

 

Book Bout-Book Review of Rise of the King

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Book-Rise of the King- The Companions Codex #2

Author– R. A. Salvatore

Voice- Victor Bevine

Book- ~$14 here http://www.amazon.com/Rise-King-Companions-Codex-II/dp/0786965150/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419984295&sr=8-1&keywords=rise+of+the+king

Audiobook- ~$20 here http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Rise-of-the-King-Audiobook/B00NFO4TH8

TL; DR-Best Drizzit Book so far! 93%

 

Basics-The orcs are on the move!  Can Drizzit stop the orc hoards with their drow puppeteers and grapple with the moral implications of orc right and wrong?  Can Drizzit save the Silver Marshes or will the world fall into the clutches of Loth?

 

Characters-I’ve written about Drizzit before.  He’s not my favorite fantasy character, but this one doesn’t just focus on him.  He’s here in this book, and he’s in the spot light just the right amount.  This book is truly an ensemble cast with both enemy drow and distant humans all taking a turn in the spot light.  It’s a well done book with lots of different characters.  A character might only get five pages of screen time, but you do feel like that person is a whole.  It’s not perfect, but it’s done really well. 4.5/5

 

Setting-It’s R. A. Salvatore and Drizzit.  Of course the Realms gets a great treatment.  The Silver Marshes and Sword Coast are being dragged through the mud, but it’s still well done Forgotten Realms. 5/5

 

Story– Here’s where everything comes together.  Salvatore is using lots of different characters to tell lots of different perspectives on the same story.  He’s using the best show don’t tell I’ve seen from him in a while.  Instead of letting Drizzit monologue about “Can orcs be good?” he’s got lots of people running around as a giant plan is coming together.  What hamstring all this is that the book is set in the past.  Drizzit and his creator Salvatore are both telling another side of the history to a DnD encounters season.  It’s well done, but you know Drizzit will win, the Sword Coast is ok, and his friends will be fine.  But, it’s still a fun ride.  4.5/5

 

Summary-Honestly, it’s taken me a bit to love the Drizzit story.  I stared reading Salvatore because he writes for the realms.  I love the Forgotten Realms, and to know what’s going on, I had to read his stuff.  But, now after books like this one, I have to say, I’m pretty happy I stuck it out.  This might not be the best place to start reading Drizzit books, being the middle of a series and all, but this book made me the happiest to read.  I’m now on board with this series and Salvatore’s writing.  I can only hope the next one is just like this one!  93%.

 

Audiobook Extra- Victor Bevine has to cover a ton of ground for this one.  If a book only has one character, then a reader only has to cover one voice.  Salvatore wrote a bunch of different characters, and Victor rose to the challenge.  Well done!  5 /5

 

Book Bout-Book Review of The Atrocity Archives  

Book-The Atrocity Archives

Author– Charles Stross

TL; DR-90%

 

Basics-Cthulhu is real, Turing’s death wasn’t a suicide, and the world’s fate rests in the hands of the guy from the IT department.  The Atrocity Archives follows Bob Howard as he deal with monsters from beyond time, creatures summoned from hell, illegal software updates, and a boss who really isn’t from hell because he’s seen what the real hell looks like.  This is the first book in a series called The Laundry Files.

 

Characters-This book has a large cast, but most of the book focuses on Bob Howard.  He’s as a fun character who is a tech geek who’s dragged into a world he never really wanted to be part of.   However, he makes the most of it all while feeling like he’s a real person.  I never felt like he was unrealistic even as he dealt with unreality.  I felt some of the other characters such as his managers from hell were a bit too much.  The world is going to die, and you’re fighting about flex time?!  That’s good comedic effect, but it does hurt some of the seriousness of the novel. 4.5 /5

 

Setting-This book takes place in a shadow world of spies, Lovecraftian horror….and IT computer help desks.  It’s an interesting balance as Bob has to split his time fighting internal politics as well as ice giants.   I did feel like I was where Bob was.  I could see the crazy, and I could see the normal.  Everything felt real. 5/5

 

Story-I liked the story, but some things were a bit much.  Get ready for techno babble.  I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry and some of the finer points of math went over my head.  There maybe a bit too much techno babble for the books own good.  It does establish Bob as a genus, but it also kind of drives the reader away.  The main plot is about Bob fighting either monsters from another dimension trying to get a foot hold here or the misuse of a government program.  Those in broad strokes are fun, but the details get a bit muddled as the Bob has to fight a bit too much with his bosses over time management.  It’s funny, but it’s kind of a bit jarring.  It makes you laugh at its nonsensicalness, but that hurts some of the more dramatic moments.  If you can get past that, it’s an fun, fast-paced ride. 4/5

 

Summary-This was the most fun I’ve had reading a book in a long time.  The book moves fairly quick, the characters are fun, and the world feels real.  It’s modern Cthulhu mythos, and that always makes me happy.  Especially when you have some snarky characters in way over their heads.  It’s not perfect as I felt a few things were taken too far, but overall, I couldn’t put this one down and can’t recommend this enough.  If you want some modern office madness in your Cthulhu, you can ‘t go wrong with this one. 90 %.

 

Audiobook Extra- Gideon Emery does an excellent job with this book.   He sounds techy, geeky, and British enough to make an English CS nerd in way over his head come to life.   His voice really helped me picture the main character going through all these actions and emotions.  He was Bob Howard for me.  5 /5

Book Bout-Book Review of The Magician’s Land  

Book-The Magician’s Land

Author– Lev Grossman

TL; DR-A fitting end to The Magicians Series. 97%

 

Basics– Quinton is unemployed, no longer a king, and now needs money quick.  He’s lost everything, and now is part of some scheme to steal a suitcase belonging to one of the Fillory children.  Oh, and Fillory is ending.  Can Quinton save the day?  Will he end up a wreck like usual?  Is this the end of our favorite world in the wall?

 

Characters-This book has the most character growth of any of the books in the series.  The strange thing is most of the growth happens off scene.  You get a few stories about how characters have changed, but they have grown into better people over time, realistically.  Quinton isn’t the alcoholic I remember him as, and his friends have all grown to be better people.  Even the bitch is a bitch as a better person!  All the characters are believable and enjoyable with great dialog and well rounded personalities.  5/5

 

Setting– This book runs between New York, Fillory, other places in-between and out-between.  All of them seem real.  It’s a wild ride as the characters all experience places we’ve never seen before as well as hitting all the highlights from the previous novels. 5/5

 

Story-Of all the books in this series, this is the happiest book of them all.  It doesn’t even end on a saccharin note; it ends on a realistic note.  The dialog is amazingly fun, and it even had me laugh out loud a few times as I was reading.  It’s a story of growth, of finding what you want, and fighting for it.  It’s a great story.  My only problem is the characters don’t really get enough time to be introduced.  You can’t just hop in with this book in the series.  4.5/5

 

Summary– I loved this book.  It’s a great ride as you check in with all your favorite characters.  People grow, learn, and become better.  Quinton now is the man you always wanted him to be, and he’s learned what he wants out of life.  I could not put this book down, and I was surprised by how fast the book went.  I loved every minute of this book, but now it’s time for things to end.   I liked this series, but I think it should be over.  Any more books in this series will really spoil this book’s ending. 97%

 

Audiobook Extra-The narrator of this book does an excellent job as always. Mark Bramhall does an excellent job.  His tone matches what I would expect from Quinton, and he has read for all three books.  At in the first book, his tone conveys the sense of just going along with the flow because Quinton isn’t a strong character.  Then, he conveys a sense of strength and resolution as Quinton has become stronger and wiser.  He even does excellent reads for the other characters really helping to bring them to life. 5/5

Book Bout- Book Review of Skin Game: A novel of the Dresden Files (Book 11)

Book– Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files (Book 11)

Author-Jim Butcher

Buy It Here– ~$16 http://www.amazon.com/Skin-Game-Dresden-Files-Book-ebook/dp/B00HUVUSZ4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407159924&sr=8-1&keywords=skin+game

TL;DR-Good, but don’t start with Dresden’s 11. 93%

 

Basics-Dresden’s at it again!  Once again, Dresden is behind the eight ball as Mab has loaned the Winter Knight out to Nicodemus to pull a heist job with some of his oldest worst enemies.  Can Dresden be the Winter Knight, somehow not be a monster, complete the heist, and do all this before the psychic parasite in his mind kills him in three days?

 

Characters– This book is all about the different characters Dresden has meet in all of the previous books.  The characters feel like they belong and are written properly compared to the previous books, but do manage to grow and change in this book.  That’s no easy feat itself.  No one feel out of place, and you get enough of an introduction to each character that even if you did something as foolish as read this as your first Dresden Files novel, you wouldn’t be completely lost. 5/5

 

Setting-The Dresden Files have taken place less and less in Chicago over time.  While that is not horrible in any way, the original premise of the books was that Dresden was a modern wizard in Chicago.  The other places he goes are well described, and I had no problems visualizing them.  But, I think things need to go back to the source a bit. 4.5/5

 

Story-I liked this story, but you can tell it’s mostly there to get all the old gang back together.  With the exception of only a few major characters, all the boys are back.  Not horrible, but the book feels like it has to check in with everyone to hit all the fan favorites.  Again, not horrible, but as book series get longer it’s a problem that tends to creep into the series.  What is here is a fun ride that doesn’t feel stupid or stupid for a fantasy book at any turn.  The book even has built in “breathing sections” where the readers and characters get to live for a few minutes instead of just run/fight all the time, so the pacing is awesome.  Also, the idea of characters questioning if they are evil or good is another well done part of this story.  Overall, I like what I see in this book.  4.5/5

 

Summary-Here’s the straight deal-don’t just start reading this book.  Go read Storm Front if you want to start reading the Dresden Files.  It’s the first book, so start there.  If you like that one, odds are you will like this one, but please work your way up from there.  If you loved the previous ones, like me, you will love this one.  This book continues a lot of the last book’s themes which I enjoy while still delivering the action too.  It stands on its own, but don’t start here if you can avoid it.  As for the book itself, it a great book, but suffers from some of the same problems that most large series do. 93%

 

Audiobook EXTRA–  I’ve listened to every single Dresden Files book as an audiobook.  James Marsters is amazing as a narrator making every single character come to life, so that in and of itself is a reason to get this as an audiobook. 5/5

Ring Side Report- DUAL RPG REVIEW of 13 True Ways and 13th Age Bestiary

I haven’t gotten any new 13th Age products in a while, and now I get two!  Let’s go through these starting with….

 

Product– 13 True Ways

Producer– Pelgrane Press

Price– ~$40 here http://www.pelgranepress.com/?p=12292

System– 13th Age

TL; DR– Love 13th Age?  BUY THIS NOW!  98%

 

Basics– MORE 13th AGE!  This book is the first player focused book for the 13th Age system.  This book covers several areas including new classes, items, monsters, living dungeons, and much more.  As always, the systems assumes you make up whatever you want and gives enough to get you started, but suggests you dump anything you want to make the story your own.

 

Mechanics or Crunch– Sweet jumping archmage, this book is full of new mechanics.  The new classes themselves are a crazy mix of new ideas.  I felt there is more of focus on modifying the encounter die which an interesting take on the mechanic.  There are the standard fare that people have requested like the necromancer and the commander (warlord from 4e DnD), but monks and druids really shined in this book for me.  Monks feel real to me now.  Sure, I like the Pathfinder monk and whatever system lets me punch goblins in the face, but this system is the first one to add some surprisingly heavy and accurate depth to the class.  Monks now have different kinds of strikes and forms just like any other real word martial art.  Druids have levels as the focus on different aspects of nature resulting in the class covering a shape changer who with different magic spells on different terrain or just being a crazy woods warrior guy/gal.  Both these classes get some serious focus in the book.  The new monsters are amazing and fun as well.  Items are great.  The best part of all this mechanics discussion is the banter between the writers.  The writers want you to write your own game and mechanics, so when they don’t have a consensus, they give you each side’s opinion and let you have fun.  Great book! 5/5

 

Theme or Fluff– Here is some balance combined with some amazing writing.  The book doesn’t tell you any story, but give you all the stories to tell.  An example of this is devils.  A major crux of the 13th Age system is that demons are going to destroy the world.  That’s the one thing that is universal in 13th Age, and that’s something you can completely disregard or rewrite and everybody’s happy!  Now devils are introduced with this book, but where do they come from?  Well this book gives you different origin stories relating to each of the icons.  And NONE of those are the reason in your game if you want them to be!  The book does an excellent job of providing Lego blocks for you to play with and showing you how the writers put them together but encourages you to build whatever you want to play with. 5/5

 

Execution-This book is laid out pretty much like the first book.  That was done fairly well, but it does have a bit of a “textbook problem”- lots of words on pages that are not broken up enough.  More pictures or colors on the powers, or space would help break up the text a bit more to help engage the reader.  I do like the pictures that are in the book, but I would like a bit more.  This isn’t by far a badly laid out book but, but a few more breaks would really help here. 4.75/5

 

Summary-THERE IS MORE 13th AGE OUT THERE!  Fans like me have been clamoring for more 13th age since there was a 13th age!  And, this product shows it’s been made with care and love for the system.  I love the new classes, powers, places, monsters, and items.  This book does monks right for the first time!  If you like 13th Age even a little bit, GO BUY THIS ONE NOW! 98%

 

Well now that I’m done drooling over one 13th Age product, here is another!

 

Product– 13th Age Bestiary

Producer– Pelgrane Press

Price– ~$40 here http://www.pelgranepress.com/?p=12144

System– 13th Age

TL; DR– More well done pieces to fit into a 13th Age game. 100%

 

Basics-Here ther’ be dragons!  This book is the first stand alone bestiary for the 13th Age system.  Each section describes a monster type, giver several versions of the monster, stories about the monster, a picture, and how it relates to the icons and the world.

 

Mechanics or Crunch– Need more monsters?  Here you go!  All the monsters work well and feel like cogs that fit the 13th age system.  The most important thing here is there is a TON of monsters to throw at the PCs and all the monsters feel like they belong and are fresh, yet something you expect in this world.  All the toys in the monster’s arsenal are well done.  Heck, if things are going too well for the players every monster gets an extra section on how to make this even nastier!  5/5

 

Theme or Fluff– Like I said before, everything fits.  That’s the most important part of this system.  Things “fit”.  All the monsters have story driven components that make them easy to just throw into a 13th Age game.  Monsters just don’t get a stat block and you hope for the best, you get a story, icon relations, and pictures-the whole nine yards.  This book is as much a story book as it is a bestiary. 5/5

 

Execution- Honestly, no complaints here.  I love the way 13th Age handles monsters-minimal stat blocks combined with stories and pictures.  Lots of breaks in the text make this a breeze and a joy to read.  This is a page turner making you want to read the next entry.  This is an awesome bestiary. 5/5

 

Summary-This is quite frankly an amazing bestiary.  If you run 13th Age, you need this book.  It’s got great stories to help you write your adventures and excellent pictures to help your players visualize the monsters.  And those are the tools I need to actually use any product in my games.  Simple put-13th Age GMs need this book. 100%

Book Bout- Book Review of The Herald

 

Book– The Herald: The Sundering, Book VI

Author– Ed Greenwood

Buy It Herehttp://www.amazon.com/Herald-Sundering-Book-VI-ebook/dp/B00H6J6KQQ/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406468742&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=the+harald+Ed+Greenwood

TL;DR– I need more background-66%

 

Basics– Magic is wild in Faerun.  Elminster is working frantically with the bard of Shadowdale and his too many great grand niece to fix the remainder of the magic weave.  However, new threats to Candlekeep and Myth Drannor call him to save the world once again.  Can he stop evil liches, an army, and the combined force of the Princes of Shade all at once?  Will he save magic once again or is the goddess of magic lost forever?

 

Story-This story was kind of hard to get into.  A major problem of this story is the lack of background and some daus ex machina.  Stories are continued from previous novels without really giving a introduction of what happened before.  The Sundering was ment to be a great introduction to the realms, but this didn’t really introduce me to what happened before or during.  The ending of the book kind of came out of nowhere and was completely fuled by daus ex machina.  I’m fine with some of that, but I never really felt all that interested in what was going on.  So, I wasn’t really interested in the ending. I’m happy to have learned more about the realms, but I’m equally happy to be done with the book.  I listened to the audiobook, but I never really felt pulled into the book.  I was mostly moving through to finish the book. 2.5/5

 

Setting– Ed Greenwood invented the Forgotten Realms, so he’s great at sending you to a place that he’s invented.  I would like a bit more introduction of what some things are though (that will be a common complaint through this review).  Aside from any minor problems I had with the setting, I did feel like I was in the realms when I read this book. 4.5/5

 

Characters-I know who NONE of these characters are.  I’ve read several Forgotten Realms books, so this isn’t my first rodeo.  Most of the other Forgotten Realms/Sundering books have done a fare to good job introducing who any of these characters are and why they matter.  This book brought in random people who, if you’ve followed all of Ed Greenwood’s books before, are important, but I had no idea who they were even at the end of the book.  I learned a bit about some of the characters, but not enough to judge if some of the main characters were written against type.  Elminster is Elminster, so that’s done well, but the rest I was kind of lost on. 3/5

 

Summary-The main problem I had with this book is background.  Ed Greenwood made my favorite fantasy setting, and he carved out a section of it for himself to write in.  However, I didn’t feel like he tried to include me in his world.  I didn’t know who anybody was for the longest time, so I didn’t feel engaged.  I finished this one mostly because I wanted to know about the Realms and the Sundering.  I’m glad I read this, but I’m kind of equally glad it’s done.  66%

 

Ring Side Report- RPG review of Numeria, Land of the Fallen Stars

Product-Pathfinder Campaign Setting- Numeria, Land of the Fallen Stars

Producer– Paizo

Price– ~$20 here http://paizo.com/products/btpy978l?Pathfinder-Campaign-Setting-Numeria-Land-of-Fallen-Stars

System– Pathfinder

TL;DR-Swords and Circuits! 95%

 

Basics– Time for some Sword and Circuits!  Numeria, Land of the Fallen Stars tells the story of Numeria in Pathfinder’s default setting.  Numeria is a land defined by barbarians and a star ship that crashed into Golarion millennia ago.  The book is roughly divided into a section describing the basic geography and story of each place.  Then the next section discusses the different groups in the region.  The final section of the book is the monsters that live in the region.

 

Mechanics or Crunch-This book isn’t crunch heavy, but it doesn’t have to be, as the book is part of a twin set discussing Numeria.  Therefore, I can forgive the book being somewhat crunch-lite.  This book focuses on the story of the region more than the execution of the region.  Even with that said, this book goes into good mechanical depth by discussing diseases, different damage types like radiation, and an item from the wastes called Numerian Fluids.  These fluids are the cast-offs of starships and robots, and have side effects ranging from instant death to gaining a level.  The book also adds a small bestiary as well as random encounter tables for each area in the region.  However, I didn’t see how often I should roll a random encounter.  I like what I see here, but I also know that most of the mechanics will come in the companion book that will come out later. 4.5/5

 

Story or Fluff-This book is FULL of stories to start a Numeria campaign.  This regions presents some novel stories (pun intended) for the Golarion setting.  I love the Sword and Circuits idea, and this book will provide you with all the standard fantasy fare of rampaging barbarians to the standard sci-fi tropes of a HoloDeck on the fritz.  Beyond this are crazy sadist cultists, paladins hiding crazy technology, and an underground railroad for robots. This book and the setting have all the stories I wanted from fantasy/sci-fi as well as enough new to make me ready to start playing! 5/5

 

Execution-This book is pretty well done.  The story and mechanics make this one a page-turner even though it’s over 60 pages of fantasy encyclopedia.  The layout, text, and pictures are great and draw the reader through the story.  I do think Paizo is running into a bit of a problem with the number of rules books they are putting out.  If you are reading this and want to run this as a physical product, you’re going to need LOTS of other books to run a game in this part of the world.  Paizo has an impressive pace for books, but this is leading to more books which will need OTHER rulebooks to use them at all.  It is a small problem, but an increasingly prevalent one. 4.75/5

 

Summary-I loved reading this product.  I was looking forward to running the Iron Gods adventure path before, but this book psyched me up even more.  I love the fusion of sci-fi and fantasy.  Some have complained that the two won’t work well together, but based on what I’ve read, these two will fit together just fine.  There are some problems though–the major one is the number of books that Paizo products are beginning to require you to have in order to play the new book.  This goes so far as this book will require a SECOND campaign book to incorporate all the technology needed for this part of the world.  But, based on this book, I’m buying that book as soon as it comes out!-95%