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Update on Books & RPGs

I forgot to do a July books update so here's what I've read in the last few weeks:

17. Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik - fourth in the series and probably the best since the first one. A disease is killing off the British dragons and Temeraire and Laurence need to find a cure in "darkest Africa". Laurence finally puts his conscience ahead of his duty to King & Country and there's a cliffhanger ending of sorts which makes you wonder if this is the last book. It isn't.

I'm currently reading The Scar by China Mieville and very good it is too. It's also c.800 pages so it'll be some time before I finish it...

On the RPG front, apart from continuing to read through the 4e core rulebooks, I've been reading Pathfinder stuff:

- Pathfinder #10 A History of Ashes. The Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path leaves Korvosa and heads into the wilderness of the Cinderlands. I don't know if it's because I bought this issue in the USA after we'd spent 10 days driving through the canyons and weird rock formations of the Colorado Plateau, but the setting conjured up images of the badlands of the Southwest - no bad thing. The adventure involves various quests and dungeon sites in the area as the PCs seek to impress and then join one of the Shoanti tribes in order to gain vital information. I liked it but prefer the city-based earlier episodes (probably because that's where my own campaign plans are)

- Pathfinder #11 Skeletons of Scarwall - penultimate episode in the Curse of the Crimson Throne AP with the adventure taking place in a very atmospheric undead-filled castle with added fiends (my two favourite monster types as kb98  will tell you). I really liked the new monsters featured too - some very original undead creations plus CoC's gugs (the welcome HPL influence on Golarion continues!) and a few Tome of Horrors critters. There is also a write-up byseankreynolds  of the evil and rather disturbing god Zon-Kuthon, the Midnight Lord. The god is reminiscent of something out of Hellraiser and has cool goggle-wearing priests that look like a bit like the Alchemists of Dirz.

- Guide to Darkmoon Vale. This Pathfinder Chronicles regional sourcebook features good writing but is let down by poor editing: there are places described in the text that aren't marked on the maps, suggesting a layer or two was missed off in Photoshop. Very frustrating as it's hard to figure out where all these places are meant to be! Otherwise, this is an interesting setting sourcebook - Darkmoon Vale is enjoyably full of sinister and warped fairy tale tropes including wolves and werewolves, dark druids and evil fey. I could see Confrontation's Wolfen fitting in nicely here too.

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