Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Armored [RPG]

3/5 Stars

SPOILER-FREE

Armored is a four-part short story in the Pathfinder Tales line, made available for free download on the Paizo website (here).  Written by Stephanie Loree, the story is set in the nation of Druma and involves Brea, leader of a mercenary group named the Blackjackets, and her relationship with the local Kalistocrat, Prophet Deagan Callimedes.  There's a good mixture of bloody action and interpersonal conflict in the story, though readers unfamiliar with Druma and Kalistocrats (as I was) may be a bit confused as the story doesn't stop to catch up newcomers to Golarion.  There's enough twists to propel the story forward, though frankly I didn't find any of the characters likable enough to really care what happened to them.  Each chapter comes with an illustration of one of the characters (picture here is Brea), an added touch I really like.


SPOILERS

The gist of the story is that Brea and Deagan have a love affair, and that Deagan, in order to rise in the ranks of the Kalistocracy, must keep this a secret.  To that end, he pays a group of hobgoblins to ambush the Blackjackets in the hopes that Brea will be killed.  Things don't turn out the way he planned, and he's forced to take even more drastic steps.  The execution of one of Brea's friends is moving and effective.  Overall, however, I think the story just didn't have enough space to flesh out the characters' personalities and motivations to make it clear to the reader what was going on and why.  Without this context, there's the germ of a good idea here that falls flat.

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