The latest installment of Rite Publishing's Free E-zine Pathways is 33 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 10 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 21 pages of content that start off to a great beginning indeed - taking the new streamlined and much crisper layout from the last issue and taking it to the logical conclusion, Pathways now sports a ToC AND bookmarks! Oh, and have I mentioned that this issue is only about 3.2 mb? Yeah, it even takes up less space on your HD!
Now, David Paul's editorial is by now an institution in Pathways and this time, we get to know about Zane, a character that was not (yet) to be played. After this, we are introduced to Steven D. "Grandmaster of Monstertemplates" Russell's template of the month and get one that should have Steampunk-aficionados and fans of the Iron Kingdoms in particular cheer his name - the Ion Lich, powered by souls in his resplendent, unholy glory has been remained for Pathfinder! Nice indeed!
Raging Swan Press' Mastermind Creighton Broadhurst has also something for you with an order of cavaliers called "Order of the Scourge" that is all about punishing those sinners. As a nice bonus, w get a rank-and-file soldier of the order including mount as well as a nice CR 4 multiclassed cavalier/inquisitor-enforcer of th order.
"Spellcasting with a Price" is the article by Mike Welham and honestly, it is perhaps my favorite Pathways-article so far! Whether it be casting spells beyond one's capability, forbidden magic from dusty tomes, cursed and diseased spells that extol a price on the caster, spells that literally burn through your fortune or demand their power to be compensated by paying their price in flesh, to withering, enervating spells, spells that do exactly the opposite of what they ought to do and the good ol' sanity-shatterer - this article has them all and provides easy to implement guidelines to make magic just a tad bit more exciting and risky. This article, I can't stress it enough, is GOLD and I hope that Mr. Welham will develop a whole supplement with expanded versions of these types of magic. They're that cool.
John Bennett has new cursed items for us, to be precise two lovingly crafted ones - a puzzle-box that is not about going Hellraiser and a neat bone-piercing that may prove to be any caster's undoing. Both items come with detailed histories and hooks and can be considered true classy additions to your game.
This issue's interview is with Sean O'Connor, notably 4WFG's lead designer of PFRPG-compatible content and worth the read - as is, though I may be biased, the section on reviews, where the best 3pp-products are reviewed by yours truly, my fellow reviewer and all out great guy Joshua "KTFish7" Gullion and the new layout has also improved here, massively. Nice, though you may want to read the text of the Shadowsfall Player's Guide - its verdict is 5 stars, not 3 as mentioned in the beginning.
I already gushed on about how superior the new layout is and Elton Robb, the layout-artist should really be proud - Pathways now looks completely, professional, sports a small mb-size and as all the nice things like bookmarks in addition being free! While this is one of the shorter issues Pathways, it is also, hands down one of the best, if not the best so far - Each and every contribution in this issue is made of win and it sports one of my favorite article in any RPG-magazine. Two thumbs up, 5 stars + seal of approval - if you download an issue, get this one!