First and foremost, if you have the three prior Pathfinder Campaign Setting volumes of the Book of the Damned, there is indeed a lot of reprinted material here.
With that said, there's enough new content that I find some of the griping in other reviews a bit shortsighted.
Especially since, given the subject matter, it stood to reason that we'd see some reprints- although in many cases, the old data has been expanded upon greatly. The book also collects a few odds and ends from relatively far-flung sources into a single volume, which satisfies.
The art is Not The Same As When Another Artist Did It. Personally, I think it works just fine. Several of the pieces in this book are among the best I've seen in a Pathfinder product- the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse get a pretty metal chapter-opening splash page, for example.
Mechanically, it gives me more or less what I wanted, although I could have done with a little more detail on the lesser fiendish demigods... but then again, I could always do with more detail on less-significant deities in the setting, so...
Solid, very solid. The Queens of the Night (formerly the "Whore Queens") in particular get a nifty treatment, including fully fleshed-out backstories, the Qlippoth seem even scarier than they were before, and Kyton Demagogues let you get your Clive Barker on with a vengeance.
4 stars instead of 5 because:
- Good as the material is, a great deal of it is, after all, reprinted.
- Several of the fiendish demigod sections feel a bit rushed in detail- overall they satisfy, but there are places here and there where you can feel the deadline looming over the writing staff.
But it's a damn fine book, and I heartily recommend it.
... but a damned solid offering from the folks at Fat Goblin Games.
The caveat, of course, is that this is a niche subject- largely a means of securing non-combat mechanical assistants without having a Mechanic who selected a drone housing for their AI*- not universally required, but a nice bit of background, especially since robotic butlers and the like are a genre staple.
Bonus points for giving the Perceptionist wing of the Android liberation organization from Starfinder some real obvious causes to champion.
If your goal is maximizing damage output for your characters with little regard to background texture, then this book will be of limited value to you.
If, on the other hand, the idea of a walking cooler that dispenses beer from an installed spigot and carries a big tub of pretzels around during downtime is something that it sounds like your character would invest in, this kicks serious butt. If the idea of the walking beer cooler going on the fritz, forcing you to bang on it with a wrench while cursing the Ysoki scumbag who sold it to you for convincing you that the company's reputation for unreliability was overinflated has appeal, then you pretty much need to buy this.
Also included are several service robot manufacturing companies, ranging from the mildly humorous to the outright hilarious (among the quirks various companies bestow upon their products include little features like the robot not recognizing the user for 1d4 minutes, or their attached mechanisms not functioning, and so forth)
So... 4 stars instead of five, because:
1. The art, while in full color and vastly superior to anything I could come up with, is not always to my taste.
2. The modular construction of the bots, while deeply thought out and balanced fairly well against the economic system as presented in the Starfinder Core rulebook, is a bit more involved than people not all that interested in flavor are going to want to get.
But it's really more of a 4.5-4.75. My quibbles are minor, and my satisfaction is high. Simply having some companies to name-drop is going to let my game seem more immersive, and I look forward to my players learning to curse (or praise) various manufacturers for their design quirks.
EDIT: You know what? Five stars. This book is a hoot.
* Not that this offers nothing to mechanics- "The mechanic class possesses the artificial intelligence class ability that can take the form of a drone or an exocortex. An SB can be integrated into this class feature using either of those distinctions. If integrating with a mechanic’s drone, simply add a free add-on slot as a place to slot each drone mod and the SB takes on the statistics of the base chassis and drone base statistics. If integrating with an exocortex, your SB is considered to be remotely and telepathically (range of 15 feet per
level) controlled by your exocortex as well as being able to bestow your consciousness (with full access to your class abilities and skills) onto your SB by loading your exocortex into it. Your normal body becomes inert at this point, still ages normally, and still maintains all of its normal processes." Need I express how friggin' cool THAT is?
Without getting too much into the plot details of this issue...
I loved it.
Loved it, loved it, loved it.
Valeros continues to be the universe's punching bag, we get a Greay Maiden facing down a Hellknight with neither one prepared to budge... Kyra, however, steals the show in resolving a specific encounter in the sewers.
Despite the fact that this is basically an expository issue, I enjoyed it thoroughly- the art is killer, and while last issue saw Valeros getting into the swing of things, this one focuses on Seoni who is a great deal more thoughtful in her approach to the world.
We get a little insight into what the Worldscape is, how it works, and also inklings of a power play by the bad guys.
Ruthazek and Kulan Gath- two tastes of evil that go GREAT together!
The supplemental information of Green Martians is hard for me to be objective about- I'm pretty much incapable of not just geeking out over having Pathfinder stats for them!
Cheaper, lighter weight, and smaller, while still having all of the same art and information as the full-size hardcover... this is some of the best bang for my buck in ages.
When the pocket editions were announced, I confess my reaction was something akin to a shrug- but having clapped eyes on both of them so far,I think it's an excellent idea,and one I want to see Paizo continue to pursue for heavily-use books like the core rulebook and the bestiaries.