The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=26927.
Rite Publishing’s Adventure Quarterly #2 is turning into the Dungeon type magazine to Open Design’s Kobold Quarterly’s Dragon type magazine, and it works! This Magazine is dedicated to adventures, not character classes, or character modifications, or tons of cool and interesting gear; its focus is on really well-thought out adventures. There is some cool gear, creatures and races but they are all part of the adventures. Rite Publishing might be considered a micro publisher but they are doing big things. Adventure Quarterly is a well-done, tight product that has focus and manages to bring some old school feeling adventures for characters at varying levels.
Adventure Quarterly is good looking; not sexy but really clean with an almost minimalist approach. The three adventures are solid and interesting and the supporting articles are relevant to the product. The adventures are great as a standalone or as seeds for some really cool campaign ideas.
Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
This publication fully embraces the concept of less being more. Rite Publishing was smart to stick to their fundamental layout and page borders. The focus of this product is the information. The gargoyle on the cover is well-done but it looks more mechanical metal, than stone. The pattern surrounding the picture is a bit wild, but it sticks to the magazine’s brand. The landscape behind the gargoyle seems a bit disconnected. The compass behind the “A” in Adventure Quarterly works on two levels: it looks good and is a subtle reminder that this is a Pathfinder product, without stealing the Pathfinder compass. The font used in the heading lost some readability in the smaller sizes. The map for the Ruins Perilous is well-done, but still has that old school “I drew this on graph paper” feel. I would liked to have seen some portions of the maps cut away and placed in the adventure near the room descriptions for ease of use for the GM while running the adventure. Rite switched between public art and stock or original art and the mixture left me feeling disoriented. Some of the art is better than others but there is not enough cohesion.
Mechanics: 10 out of 10
This product has really found the sweet spot in providing balanced adventures for characters from all levels. Part of the reason these mechanics work so well is the caveats that the designers include about the adventures and what the GM can expect. Most of the creatures used in the adventures can be found in Pathfinder supplements, but the stats for those creatures are included in the adventures. Things start to get complicated when you get to the higher level adventure, but that is to be expected.
Value Add: 9 out of 10
The only reason I didn’t give this a 10 is because this product is really focused on the GM. There is value for players, but not much. For a GM this is 10 out of 10. The adventures are well-written and easy to understand and follow; the addition of good, extensive background information for each adventure provides good campaign ideas. All of the information needed to run the adventures is included and there was real thought put into each one. The Dungeon Dressing segment is full of those little extras that make dungeons feel alive without burdening the GM. Simply roll % and you are good to go, don’t like the result, just re-roll. I enjoyed the inclusion of some pre-generated characters to go with the low level adventure. What a great way to dive right into a single game session. I would liked to have seen pictures of the pre-gens just to give the player a better idea of who/what they are playing.
Overall: 9 out of 10
This magazine took me back to the good old days when I could go into a book store and purchase some really well-done adventures for a reasonable price. I think putting this out quarterly is a great idea and it gives the folks at Rite Publishing enough time produce quality products rather than just throwing whatever they can out there to meet a deadline. Rite is headed in the right direction and as they grow I can see their ability to maintain cohesive art themes in their products growing with them. The mixture of the old school feel with the young Pathfinder system is really cool. By following the KISS method, Rite Publishing has done something quite professional.
[5 of 5 Stars!]