Monday, February 20, 2017
The Box, by Bill Ward, is a four-part series of Pathfinder web fiction available for free online (here). There's nothing particularly bad about the story, per se, but I frankly found it eminently forgettable. The story, which is set in Magnimar, concerns a Varisian thief named Kostin's attempt to figure out what's inside a mysterious box he stole. Although the plot is serviceable, I think it was a mistake to introduce an entire group of characters in short web fiction like this, as each gets so little attention that they come across as one-dimensional. I'm also quite interested in the fiction city of Magnimar, and I didn't think the story did anything to bring it to life. With so much Pathfinder web fiction available, this one should be near the bottom of the reading order. For what it's worth, the artwork isn't bad.
It's not a major spoiler to say that others want the box as well, so Kostin and his allies find themselves in repeated chase scenes fending off various forces. I found the transition between chapters somewhat jarring, and I didn't 100% understand what was in the box even after the big revelation at the end of the last chapter. I think by introducing fewer characters, more description could have been given to the plot and more originality could have been given to those characters. The Ulfen warrior, for example, was a stereotype right out of "Pathfinder central casting", and the gnome illusionist wasn't much better.