Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Quick Review - Pathfinder Audio Drama 2 - The Skinsaw Murders

The second part of the Pathfinder Legends series produced by Big Finish was released back at the beginning of June . My apologizes for being so late in reviewing the audio drama, my own marriage superseded
such things.

The Skinsaw Murders is the second part of the Rise of the Runlords audio drama, an adaption of Paizo's Riseof the Runelords Adventure path from back in 2009. I have never played the original path and even though I own the entire set I have never read the adventure. Pathfinder and Runelords appears during a pretty bad time in my gaming and real life so collector only was I.

The iconics, the pre-gen in setting characters that Paizo uses in most pathfinder promotional material, have been in the village of Sandpoint for a while at the start of the new drama and the easy living (as it were) is beginning to have a negative impact upon the companions. This all changes however with a series of murders that the town lawman calls in the adventures to investigate. That investigation leads to several major reveals, near death (and undeath) for two of the characters and a move from the town of Sandpoint to a major metropolitan area.

The first thing I noticed with this second foray was the increased audio quality. Unlike the first audio drama, Burnt Offerings, the characters' voices did not get lost in the background noise of combat and crowds or in the music that accompanied certain parts of the drama. This, as mentioned in the first review, was one of my two biggest gripes with the production and I am very happy that Big Finish was able to fix that the second time around.

The story, or more precisely the scripting, is vastly improved as well. This could be the result of a different tone in the original adventure or in the adaptation of that adventure. The pace is more even and the transitions from one group of characters to another or simply a transition from location to location is much better pulled of. I still think the series would be greatly improved by some narration but at least this time the lack of it is not so jarring.

The only big disappointment for me is the lack of Ameiko. I enjoyed her character in the first audio drama and felt the absence of her greatly. She added a seen of innocent wit (in my opinion) that balanced out the iconics' more crass and jaded sense of humor.

Overall the product is much improved and I was able to listen to it straight through and not feel the need to listen to it again to figure out what I had missed. Ezren, surprisingly still manages to hold center stage for me and even make magic-users seem interesting and kind of cool. I enjoy his almost fatherly banter with the other characters (which has reached truly Whendon levels at this point) and his more balanced attitude.


This time around I would give the production 4 out of 5.

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