Kobold Quarterly. If you have not started reading this magazine in print or PDF form you have been missing out. I am late to the Kobold Quarterly party myself only having started to read it about a year ago. For those of you a little behind the curve like I was, Kobold Quarterly is a magazine available through print or PDF form and has a quarterly release schedule. Kobold in Chief is Wolfgang Baur who has a long history with gaming from the TSR days including stints as editor of Dungeon and Dragon magazines plus much more.
If you have ever found yourself reminiscing about the Dragon magazine from the good old days, then you owe it to yourself to check out an issue of Kobold Quarterly. The feel of the magazine is very much like those old days and contains articles to inspire anyone’s game. The magazine contains articles that cover Pathfinder, 4th Edition D&D and the AGE System RPG. Even an article geared for an edition that is not your preferred there are generally plenty of gems you can borrow from it for your own system of choice with ease.
Here I was on release day of the new Fall Issue that I found myself home on a sick day nursing a nasty cough and cold. With the new issue downloaded and ready on the iPad I set in on reading the issue. Kobold Quarterly #19 clocks in at 80 pages and the cover graced by the artwork of Malcom McClinton depicting an eastern style dragon in front of a mountain backdrop. This issue introduced The White Necromancer, new archetypes and discoveries for alchemists, sample magic shops for your campaign, a preview Tian Xia by James Jacobs, archetypes of death, the Relics of Power contest winner – the Gordian Knot, ways to spice up trap encounters, Balance-Free Bonuses, a solo adventure, an interview with Jason Morningstar of Fiasco fame, and more.
This was another solid issue from Kobold Quarterly. While not every article grabs my fancy equally it is generally a matter of taste and certainly not quality of writing. I have not delved much into the Midgard Campaign Setting by the Open Design Group. There are a couple of articles that focus on the Midgard Campaign setting which are excellent reads for people that use that setting.
The article What’s In Store by Christina Stiles and Spike Jones covers some tips for turning the dreaded magic shop into a better tool for GMs. It discusses several ways a magic shop can fit into the game to help the players without giving the GM fits. It also details four sample magic shops ready for use in any campaign. This article is a great resource for GMs struggling with magic shops in their game.
10 Ways to Turn Dull Traps into High-Stakes Encounters by Britian Oates was a good read on making traps your parties might face more than just dice rolls to see if they found followed by another dice roll to see if they are disabled. There is nothing memorable in that and this articles covers a myriad of ways to makes trap encounters more memorable, without necessarily turning up the deadliness of the trap. The trap information within is useful information for any campaign under any system.
One of my favorite articles in this issue was Balance-Free Bonuses by Monte Cook. This article covered some “traits” for the lack of a better word and not to be confused with Pathfinder’s traits that can be given as a racial ability or class ability. These were simple things like elves being able to see twice as far as a human or rogues being able to easily determine the value of something. All of these were abilities that added flavor to either the race or class without having an actual mechanical bonus that might cause unbalance. I really liked this idea and could easily see using these or coming up with some of my own for my campaign.
For those looking forward to Paizo’s release of the Tian Xia campaign setting there is a great sneak preview written by James Jacobs. It covers several of the regions and includes a full page map of the region.
Kobold Quarterly #19 is another great Kobold Quarterly issue. I’ve only touched on some of the articles that stuck out to me, but I am sure there is something for everyone in this magazine. I give the issue five stars on my five star rating scale. You definitely owe it to yourself to check this magazine out if you aren’t already a Kobold Quarterly fan.