Posted by : David Guyll April 15, 2009

Okay, I bit.

I initially picked up the first issue of Kobold Quarterly over two years ago, just to see what it was all about. Erik Mona refers to it as the "spiritual successor" to Dragon, which is true: both provide basically the same type of information and cater to the 3rd Edition crowd.

That being said, it suffered from the same problem that I had with Dragon: both had plenty of content that would likely never see use at your table. I basically got a subscription to Dragon because I didnt play D&D a whole lot at the time, and it felt like a cheap way to cope. At less than $40 a year it was a good deal.

I found myself severely underwhelmed by the quality and content in the first Kobold Quarterly. Chalking it up to a slow start, I skipped an issue and waited for the third even though I thought the cover was cheesecake of the worst variety, and I honestly should have trusted my instinct.

The only reason I bothered to get KQ9 is because I heard there was an interview with Dave Arneson, and an actual 4E article on kitsune. I was a fan of Oriental Adventures, and Red Jason figured that the interview would be a great read. Well, at least he was right. I found it to be the only entertaining feature of the entire issue, though I guess I'd give an honorary mention to whoever wrote the kitsune for effort.

Skimming the magazine, I quickly ran into a really nice picture by Wayne Reynolds blemished with the caption that "3.5 Thrives". I find this very strange since Pathfinder is pretty divorced from the "core" 3rd Edition rules to the point where you cannot use most things from actual 3rd Edition without houseruling it yourself. By houseruling I mean piling on a crapton of class features to put it on par with everything else and adding in bonus racial features to balance them out with the rest since Paizo did a good job of stealing all the changes to 4E and claiming that they are "keeping it real". To me this stance just seems like Paizo is trying to appear as heroes to diehards for yester-year's edition, who apparently dont realilze that no, you cannot use stuff like Expanded Psionics Handbook as-written.

Skipping to the actual content, there are yet more options for bards. Yay. Its got a bunch of feats that you wont use since there are blatantly superior ones, a couple spells you might use assuming that pre-existing options arent already available (Requiem lets you affect undead with bardic music, which makes song of Orpheus pretty pointless), and some variant class features if you were actually playing a bard at all.
I'm all for more crunch and options, but the bard is a pretty piss-poor class in the first place. You dont get a lot of feats in 3E, bards dont get a lot of spells, and they're inferior in all regards except when it comes to Diplomacy (and there are other classes that can easily match even that).

Camazotz is "the bat god of the underworld", which I'm sure will never see use by anyone, ever, for any reason.

Unfamiliar Familiars introduces even more familiars. After Tome & Blood, Complete Arcane, Complete Mage, and various issues of Dragon you'd think we beat that horse to death enough times to hit epic level.
It opens up with a wall of text that makes a number of erroneous claims, such that familiars always assist their masters and that they can apparently make a case in a posthumous trial. Familiars cannot even communicate with their master until level 5, and they dont get average Intelligence until level 9.
Plus, PH makes it clear that a familiar could perceive things in a different manner, even once it possesses human intelligence. This makes it a pretty unreliable source of information.

Living with Dinosaurs just has more dinosaur stat blocks in case you couldnt invent your own or they werent covered in an issue of Dragon before. Several times. I started reading the 4E conversion for the maenad before concluding that the racial abilities were a bit excessive. I'll wait for the Wizards version, thank you.

Basically, I'm going to hold off (again) of Kobold Quarterly for (hopefully) ever. I dont understand why diehards of 3rd Edition laude it so: even if I still played 3E I'd still consider it lackluster at best. Much of the content seems to further saturate things that were already oversaturated with yet more feats, spells, magic items, etc etc et-fucking-cetera. It was already difficult in 3E to track all the feats, much less getting your DM to let you use one of the million others that you dug up in a periodical that they probably dont own.

I'm enjoying Dragon a lot more than I used to now that its gone back to Wizards. There is a lot of useful content to the point where players either than myself have a DDI subscription (four of them, at this point). This is very important to me because it shows that its actually interesting enough to grip players that were more than happy to just come over and flip through my books every week. Even the new girl has one, and she just started playing. There's no way I could convince anyone to subscribe in the past. Now, they already have before I could even open my mouth.

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