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The number of celebrited names associated with this volume could fill a complete chapter in the "Who's Who?" of role-playing. Keith Baker, Richard Baker, Wolfgang Baur, Jason Bulmahn, Ed Greenwood, Tim Hitchcock, James Jacobs, Nicoloa Logue, Frank Mentzer, Erik Mona, Chris Pramas, Sean K Reynolds, F.Wesley Schneider (doesn't he play for Southampton FC ?), Michael A Stackpole, Lisa Stevens and James L Sutter - all are contributing authors. If your appetite is not whetted by this little lot then you are brand new to role-playing or have been playing with your head in a sandbox for many years. This is the elite of the elite and this volume is 160 glossy, full colour, pages of their combined imaginations. The book was published through the help of tis great talent by Goblin Works using th social media funding power of Kickstarter.This merry band of old and new style role-playing geniuses were drawn together by the enigmatic and persuasive charms of Paizo's MVP Lisa Stevens.


The scene is set over the first 20+ pages as the Town of Fort Inevitable discloses its secrets, its surroundings, some of the better known people and buildings, and of course the famed Emerald Spire. This construction defies logic and is in contrast the majority of deep, below ground, vaults and caverns generally engineered by the builders. The Emerald Spire stands as a monument to magic and mystery, with a central needle core-like tube that could be of the greatest use to adventurers if they can discover its magical properties and how to use them. This is the first special surprise for DMs to have fun with at the player's expense.

From the Emerald Spire's tower the tunnels zig-zag downwards in a mostly linear fashion with just the odd offshoot passage leading to one or other of the beginnings of a mini scenario - set out in this volume as Chapters; each written by one of the luminary authors. Each cave or cavern is recorded as a Dungeon Level. Each Level is different from the last but in keeping with the main theme and each has, at the start of its Chapter, a detailed map of the area complete with numbered sections that are referred to specifically in the text of the Chapter.

Towards the back of the book you will find a bestiary; one that covers the remaining denizens, creatures and monsters of this deep and dangerous shaft. These pages are for the DM to reference when required, ALL pages of this volume should be kept away from the players at all costs - there is way too much information and detail that player characters shouldn't be privvy to; this is also why I am writing a rather cagey review because I don't wish to give anything away, but at the same time I want to impress on how intelligent and how super-duper this super-dungeon really is.

The characters are fed tidbits by the DM in the form of mini-plots and side plots which are designed to peak the player's interest, while their characters are drawn further into an overall adventure. The length of tunnel between each burrow is in no way linear, with some areas clustered like small villages and others far away down the narrow winding passages. It is in these passages and subway shafts that denizens may be encountered - the term wandering monster comes immediately to mind (well at least to my mind and, I would imagine, the thoughts of old-style DMs - and those DMs that are simply old, again like me).

Although this has been specifically created for the excellent Paizo PATHFINDER role-play system, the EMERALD SPIRE could (and should in my opinion) be revised and converted for use by DMs and GMs who insist on continuing to play other FRPGs (yes there are still a few other Fantasy Role-Playing Games around) instead of PATHFINDER.

Level 01:  Lisa Stevens - The Tower Ruins
Level 02:  Ed Greenwood - The Cellars
Level 03:  Michael A Stackpile - Splinterden
Level 04:  Frank Mentzer - Godhome
Level 05:  Sean K Reynolds - The Drowned Level 
Level 06:  Richard Baker - The Clockwork Maze
Level 07:  Chris Pramas - Shrine of the Awakener
Level 08:  Jason Bulmahn - The Circle of Vissk-Thar
Level 09:  Tim Hitchcock - The Spire Axis
Level 10:  F Wesley Schneider - The Magma Vault
Level 11:  Wolfgang Baur - The Tomb of Yarrix
Level 12:  Keith Baker - The Automaton Forge
Level 13:  Nicolas Logue - The Pleasure Gardens
Level 14:  Erik Mona - The Throne of Azlant
Level 15:  James L Sutter - Order and Chaos
Level 16:  James Jacobs - The Emerald Root

To all DMs/GMs: If you cannot make a grand campaign out of the material in this volume then you should hang up your dice and open the Monopoly box.....


© Chris Baylis 2011-2015