Title: Pathfinder – Spoken on the Song Wind (Strength of Thousands 2 of 6)
Publisher: Paizo Inc
Authors: Quinn Murphy, James Case, Jessica Catalan, Brian Cortijo, Isaac Kerry, Dave Nelson, Lu Pellazar, and Shan Wolf
Artists: Setiawan Lee, Vlada Hladkova, Robert Lazzaretti, Artur Nakhodkin, Ian Perks, Christoph Peters, and Luis Salas Lastra
Genre: Pathfinder roleplaying adventure
Pages: 98 pages
MSRP: 24.99 in softcover or 17.99 in PDF
Spoken on the Song Wind expands on the groundwork established in Kindled Magic to deliver an adventure that retains its endearing school charm while still delivering excitement and mystery.
Spoken on the Song Wind sees player characters approach the path to greatness, first by catching the eye of Janatimo –a teacher with an eye for talent– and then by rising to the rank of conversant, the first students in Spire Dorm to do so. This elevation in rank confers an added degree of responsibility as well as new agency, as conversants are expected to take on good works beyond the walls of the Magaambya and into the community at large. There’s a lovely note of ludonarrative cohesion here as the chapters following players’ elevation switch from fairly linear play to a more sandbox style of narrative. It’s a smart design choice and it helps to drive home the growth of the characters, as well as the increased knowledge base of the players. As students progress, they are given more freedom; as players grow more familiar with the world, they are given more choice in how to navigate it.
Much like in Kindled Magic, creativity and wit are often rewarded in Spoken. Upon meeting Janatimo, players are prompted for potential answers to his questions — one grounded and one outlandish. It’s an opportunity for deeper roleplaying and one that truly invites players to step into the scholarly aspects of their characters. It’s rare that violence is the only, let alone best solution to a problem and GMs are once again encouraged to reward out of the box thinking.
GMs also get to flex some creative muscle, should they so choose. While the text of the adventure provides no shortage of challenges for new conversants to attend to, it also explicitly invites GMs to come up with their own. While Spoken On The Song Wind certainly ups the ante for players, it does so without sacrificing its sense of wonder or joy.
There’s ample room, too, for school shenanigans as, even as conversants, studies come first. Though not part of the plot advancement, GMs and players have the opportunity to work together in creating the magical school atmosphere of their collective dreams. For those still hurting at the loss of a certain other school of magic, the Magaambya is a warm and welcoming alternative. While it’s tempting to run straight towards the adventure, there’s no shortage of fun to be had in having a little wholesome school mischief along the way.
The supplemental material in this installment is once again a treat. Focusing on the folktales of the Mwangi Expanse, they add even more life to an already vibrant setting and call out to be worked into plot hooks for other adventures or sidequests.
The art for this installment helps to drive home the spirit of both the school and the city. The sense of life is palpable and the pages are a delight for it. Layout remains clean and easy to navigate on screen, but section hotlinks would nevertheless be appreciated.
Spoken on the Song Wind is a strong second installment on an excellent adventure path. While big changes are in store for characters by the end of this outing, it’s growth that feels organic and well-earned. The larger storyworld continues to develop in compelling ways and the thought put into that development is on full display. Spoken On The Song Wind manages to deliver a suitably challenging adventure while raising the stakes — all while never losing sight of what made its opening chapter so wonderful.