Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Rucht Hour: Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition

As some of you may know, I'm currently running the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path from Paizo. I've changed the setting to Mythic Ireland, but the essentials of the AP are there. I thought I might take this opportunity to do a quick review of the Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition, updated for the current Pathfinder rules. What's interesting about this review is that we started playing the game in the old 3.5 AP and just now converted over. 

First of all, understand that the original Rise of the Runelords was designed for the D&D 3.5 system. It's easy to update to the Pathfinder system because most of the rules are similar or the same. At the very least, the math between the two systems works. 

A Pathfinder party is more powerful than a 3.5 D&D party. They've said this in various conversion documents. It's also obvious when you start playing the game. Fixing this is not a problem at all. You just beef up opponents' to-hit bonuses, hit points, or add more enemies to the battlefield. 

So, why covert? I bought the new complication because I was using a friend's AP splatbooks. This way, I had my own copy at last. That's the primary reason I bought it. But here's a quick review of what you get. 

Reading over this new edition, I noted a lot of new artwork. They could have been lazy and recycled all of their old artwork into this new edition. They didn't. The new artwork also makes sense. Pictures or figures which just weren't that good were replaced by ones that work much better for roleplaying. For example, instead of just pictures of people's heads in some cases, there are now full-figured portraits, which is much better when you are showing what someone looks like during a roleplaying session. 

Also, and this is a big selling point, they've improved the adventures themselves. In many cases, scenes have been fleshed out to make more sense. In the very beginning, I noted that they even added a few scenes to give later scenes in the adventure more impact. For example, in the original Rise of the Runelords [SPOILERS] there is an NPC who dies in a gruesome way. In this new edition, you actually meet this NPC as well as another that you are supposed to rescue. 

Also, the information is far better organized. In the original, I had to read some of the splatbooks two or three times to tease out the true story and to catch subtleties in the text. Here, they do a much better job of explaining each chapter upfront and providing a better outline for the adventure to come. 

Now, here's a big con for the book - the book is large and hefty, so to save space there are a number of occasions in which you are referred to entries out of one of the Bestiaries. It's pretty jarring, since the original adventure path had all of the stats written out there for you. Again, I understand why they did it - the book is large and hefty on its own. More stats would have made it much bigger and unwieldy, but it definitely bares mentioning. Fortunately, most of their Bestiaries are part of their freeware, so if you need, you can print them out and have them with you ahead of time. Still, if you really want a text which has all of the stats written out for you, up front and central, you should take note. 

All right, that's all for me. Next week, I'll talk about Dragon*Con. 

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