So, snagged a copy of the PDF (and will get a hard copy from my FLGS).
I love it. I love it so very many ways.
The art is killer, the writing is engaging.
The character options are just weird enough to be awesome (As someone with little love for Spiritualists and mad love for Psychopomps, running a Spiritualist who traded their Phantom in for a Nosoi Psychopomp familiar is a thing I didn't know I needed until I saw it).
The deity sections aren't so much long on new information as concisely informative about the general state of a deity's business, which is something I appreciate.
The sections on each plane are informative and enjoyable.
The section on alternate cosmologies, while understandably brief, is also a nifty little sideline.
This issue is spent almost entirely in the Boneyard (apart from a flashback to Valeros’ childhood, in which we learn that the guy has something akin to dyslexia), with Valeros bouncing off of a night hag, a devil, an angel, a marut, and, to my not-inconsiderable delight, multiple Psychopomps as it turns out everyone thinks his soul is... someone else’s.
A bit more action in this one than in the previous issue, but the focus on Valeros and the confusion surrounding his situation still makes for a pretty intimate read, and a genuinely funny look at Val’s first brush with the afterlife.
An issue that’s mostly set-up but still kicks butt-
We join our heroes in Kaer Maga, wherein Valeros throws down with a troll on the opening page- things get a little more sedate from there, but we get to meet Imrijka, have some genuinely funny conversation involving her, Merisel, and the latter’s annoyance that someone got laid without inviting her.
What really stands out for me is that this issue was more about who our protagonists are than about what they’re doing- which I greatly enjoyed.
... all the bits and pieces of information we've had coming out piecemeal over the years coalesce into a quite enjoyable write-up of Nidal, arguably the most screwed-up nation-state in Avistan.
The sense of just how oppressive the place is really comes across in the art and the writing, and the historical bits are quite well fleshed-out.
While not quite as outré as it maybe could have been, it's still pretty grim going in places. At the same time, you get a taste of what Nidal was before it knuckled under to a god of pain and darkness, and a sense of what the place has to offer.
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.