Pathways (PDF E-zine)
Published By: Rite Publishing (site)
Review By: J.L. Duncan
We’re taking a brief look at Pathways, a Pay What You Want E-Zine available at Paizo, as well as at drivethrurpg.com & rpgnow.com (One Book Shelf). Issues are in portable document format (PDF), while a few are available in print as well. Pathways, specializes in Pathfinder content, but features system neutral articles, advertisements, game industry related interviews and RPG product reviews.
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Before I start, I must disclose that I’ve authored the occasional article in Pathways. I also plan to contribute more. What can say? Similar to how and why, I began writing articles and eventually an RPG review column with Knights of the Dinner Table (KoDT); the reason why I contribute and support Pathways is very similar.In my opinion Pathways, is an awesome gaming publication. If you’re playing Pathfinder this one is hard not to love. I’m not an authority on third party publishing (3PP), but Rite Publishing has digitized nearly seventy issues, 2011 to current (knock on wood), and that’s fifty+ issues more than most 3PP E-Zines last. Rite Publishing does this with support through Patreon. (which, you can check out, here)
Pathways, is produced monthly and each issue caters to a theme. Page count per issue varies, but most are around 40 to 50 pages. Within, are usually two or three RPG articles you can use at your table, and as mentioned, these are either catered to Pathfinder or are system neutral.My favorite regularly featured column is the Creature Template articles for Pathfinder. I’ve gotten a lot of ideas from these simple templates, and many (though admittedly, I tweaked them substantially and used them for D&D Basic) have already found my table. The Creature Template provides a modified skin, which is suitable for Non-player character or monster roles. The GM tacks a concept onto a character or creature, and is ready to go. The Creature Template itself usually adds a few tweaks to a standard character type, monster or typical NPC archetype. The true value of this column is beyond the +1s or +2s, by directly engaging the Game Master (GM) and providing a means to make what usually is a typical encounter, interesting.
Most issues include an article or two from RPG veteran Creighton Broadhurst of Raging Swan Press. I’m constantly impressed by the sheer usefulness of these articles. Mr. Broadhurst certainly has a knack for random tables, though that is not the only variety of article her writes. (Also, on Patreon, here) I’m randomly listing a handful of my “Broadhurst favorites” and the issues these articles are in.
· Issue #63: 10 Strange Things to See Behind a Seedy Tavern’s Bar
· Issue #28: Thornhill at a Glance!
· Issue #10: Sneak Thieves
· Issue #9: Mad Hermit
· Issue #2: The Riderless Horse
Each PDF features full color treatment of unique art, with the bulk of the text in standard double column format. The Table of Contents isn’t hyperlinked, but since no issue is longer than 64 pages, it isn’t too much to sort through.To conclude, I’m not exactly unbiased here. I debated a bit about writing a totally biased review because of it, but in the end I hope you’ll check out an issue. I won’t argue that a product which is essentially free is certainly worth it, because that’s pretty obvious, but I will say it’s certainly worth your time.