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Pathfinder Adventure Path #202: Severed at the Root (Wardens of Wildwood #2 of 3) Reviewed

Title: Pathfinder Adventure Path #202 – Severed at the Root (Wardens of Wildwood #2 of 3)

Publisher: Paizo Inc

Authors: Jessica Catalan with John Compton and Alexi Greer

Artists: Rodrigo Gonzalez Toledo, Nicholas DeLuca, Ekaterina Gordeeva, Kent Hamilton, Robert Lazzaretti, Justine Nortjé, Mark Tarrisse, and Nicholas Phillips

Year: 2024

Genre: Second chapter of the new Pathfinder wilderness themed fantasy roleplaying campaign

Pages: 94 pages

MSRP: Softcover $26.99 or $19.99 in PDF

With Ruzadoya leading newer, far more violent iteration of the Wildwood Lodge, it’s up to the player characters to discover and disrupt her plans before it’s too late in Severed at the Root, the second entry in the Wardens of Wildwood Adventure Path.

Severed at the Root sees the play contend not only with the challenges of establishing a new lodge to rival Wildwood, but also researching, exploring, and yes, fighting. There is a wonderful sense of pacing to the adventure and some delightful NPCS, but absent the allegory that drove its predecessor, it feels somewhat less resonant, though it is no less fun. While the research mechanics can easily detail a story’s momentum, here, they have been so seamlessly folded in as to feel a natural and, more impressively, necessary addition.

Severed at the Root also bypasses a substantial bit of tedium by ensuring that the NPCs left to manage the Lodge in the party’s absence are all experienced, sensible, and driven by a desire to the right thing, rather than by ego. This frees players up to confidently explore and pursue their own agendas, knowing that their hard work will not be undone in their absence.

Jessica Catalan isn’t afraid to leverage the concept of natural consequence, driving home the sense that player actions do, in fact, prompt re-actions. The world is not merely a backdrop, but rather, a dynamic ecosystem that responds to player choice. Ignore a blood trail and lose an ally; resort to slaughter an alienate another. Most of the time, this works extraordinarily well, but a hefty surprise penalty for diving too deeply into research doesn’t feel like a natural fit here. Likewise, some choices that feel as if they should have a larger narrative impact are not explored in substantive detail.

For a game line so often drawn to tales of power –including those who wield it, those who exploit it, and those who suffer the consequences therein– Eilwith’s story feels flat and reductive. While players are told she volunteered for the experiment, they are also made aware that Eilwith was not a true partner in her relationship. There is a fascinating parallel to be drawn between this exploitation and the path’s broader ideological conflict, but it’s left untouched. Admittedly, this is something that will only bother a tiny minority and is by no means an adventure-ruining omission.

The supplemental material included with Severed at the Root adds exciting new options for character creation and development, as well as a variety of new items and enemies that have potential far beyond the scope of the campaign.

While Severed at the Root lacks the pointed narrative of its predecessor, it offers exciting exploration- and combat-focused play opportunities while still ensuring players have lateral room in how they attempt to solve their problems. Severed also benefits from its well-timed narrative payoffs and establishes an exciting conflict to drive the final act. Combined with smart choices on mechanical inclusion and omission, Severed at the Root is a fun and exciting entry for all Pathfinder fans.

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path #202: Severed at the Root (Wardens of Wildwood #2 of 3) Reviewed

    The action kicks up a notch as players explore, fight, and struggle to found a new lodge in Severed at the Root, the second entry in the Wardens of Wildwood Adventure Path.
    8
    10
    Great

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