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Tordek

Krome's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 4,671 posts (4,689 including aliases). 15 reviews. 5 lists. 2 wishlists. 9 Pathfinder Society characters. 3 aliases.



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A must have for every gamer

*****

The Advanced Race Guide is divided into four chapters: Chapter 1 pertains to the Core Races and has several options for each of the seven core races; Chapter 2 pertains to Featured Races and includes descriptions and options for sixteen of the more popular non-core races in the Bestiaries; Chapter 3 pertains to the fourteen Uncommon Races, which include races from the Dragon Empires Gazetteer, as well as others that lend themselves to great storytelling; and lastly Chapter 4 is the Race Builder and includes an impressive array of overwhelming options to build or modify your own races.

Chapter 1: Core Races includes dwarves, elves, halflings, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs and humans. Each race includes new racial traits that can be swapped for standard ones to crate a more unique version your chosen race, a couple of new racial class archetypes that do an amazingly good job of capturing the flavor of each race, new racial subtypes that make a lot of sense, racial equipment, racial feats, racial spells, and even racial magic items. There is a LOT of good stuff in here. My favorite race is the dwarf, naturally, and I have to admit, Paizo did a fantastic job with new options.

Chapter 2: Featured Races include Aasimirs, Catfolk, Dhampirs, Drow, Fetchlings, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Ifrits, Kobolds, Orcs, Oreads, Ratfolk, Sylph, Tengu, Tieflings, and Undines. WOW!! I was impressed with the Catfolk and Ratfolk especially. I never cared for them before but the flavor of these races begs to be played over and over. I am about to start paying an Undine in the Skull and Shackles AP and those options have really impressed me and given me some great ideas. After reading these races I would allow them in any of my games as a core race. While some may have some overpowered abilities they are compensated quite well.

Chapter 3: Uncommon Races include Changelings, Duergar, Gillmen, Gripplis (that was a bold move), Kitsume, Merfolk, Nagaji, Samsarins, Strix, Suli, Svirfneblin, Vanaras, Vishkanyas, and Wayangs. The races from Dragon Empires Gazeteer are all included. There are fewer options for all of these, but honestly from what they have I can come up with some great stuff.

By the way, this book makes me want to create a new game world just for Catfolk, Ratfolk, Tengu, Gripplis and Kitsune, with the Nagaji as the evil henchmen to the naga overlords. Seriously, until now I never realized how great an idea that is! Forget "normal" fantasy I want to try out that world!

Chapter 4: Race Builder is great for the number crunchers out there. There are just about every monster/race option ever printed in any Paizo book presented here as options to make your own race. And surprisingly, it is easy to do!

This book has breathed new life into the boring, stale, core races that have been played to death for 30 years. The ARG brings new stories to the table with a slew of great new races to choose from.

But best of all, this book inspires and forces you to want to play. That is what a good rule book is supposed to do after all.


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Not sure why they bothered...

**( )( )( )

The Pathfinder Society Field Guide is divided into six sections: an Introduction, Absalom, Factions, Pathfinder Society Archetypes, Field Guide and Society Resources.

The 2 pages of the Introduction has some general information about the Pathfinder Society with rules for Day Jobs, Prestige and Fame, and purchases using Prestige and Fame. This same information is presented for free in the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play.

There are 8 pages dedicated to the city of Absalom. One page is a very attractive full page color map. While the information about Absalom is presented with a Pathfinder in mind, most of the information is also available in the Guide to Absalom and Inner Sea World Guide.

There are 12 pages dedicated to the factions, with each faction receiving one full page of information. While faction information can be found in the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, this does in fact expand upon the information presented there. This is nice but nothing that could not have been included in the free Guide. The best information here are some boons each faction offers and how many Prestige Points it costs for them. But essentially this information is free in the Guide.

That brings us to 7 pages of Pathfinder Archetypes. Not exactly what I would have called archetypes, but technically there are six archetypes. The Scroll Scholar is for Clerics and Wizards, Scroll Scoundrel is for Rogues, Dimensional Occultist is for the Witch, Seekers can be Oracles or Sorcerers, Grenadier is for the Alchemist, and the Lore Warden for Fighters. None struck me as MUST HAVES. This section made me think it was filler.

There are 14 pages dedicated to the Field Guide. This is a How-To section for Pathfinders explaining what to do when you face Ambush Specialists, Bureaucrats, Competitors, Cultists, Dangerous Wildlife, Environmental Dangers, False Pathfinders, Getting Stuck, Hall Traps, Malignancies, Parasites and Sickness, Restless Dead, Savage Humanoids, Scavengers, Things from Beyond, Trapped Objects, Trapped Rooms, and the Unnameable. The bulk of each section is a description of the bad thing you will run into, and a short paragraph gives rather vague instructions on what to do. I honestly have no idea why this section is included except to fill pages.

Society Resources is 18 pages of equipment, feats, spells and magic items. Almost an entire page is dedicated to kits that seem a good idea for literature or even real life, but for Society play is a great way to add extra weight to slow you down and spend your money on. There are some cute Equipment Tricks using ropes and sunrods. There are a couple of new weapon and armor special abilities. Magic items include Runestones of Power (very cool item for spontaneous casters only), the Decemvirate Helm- a minor artifact that cannot be bought so not sure why it is included, and some Wayfinders (there are more Wayfinders in Seekers of Secrets which is a much better book in my opinion).

All in all I give this book a 2 out of 5, which is not very good for a product considered a core requirement for Society Play. Nearly everything not copied from elsewhere and actually useful could have been added in 2-4 pages to the free Guide to Pathfinder Society Play.


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This is a MUST have to any collection

*****

I bought this on a whim, not expecting a great deal, but hopeful for something new.

And boy did it deliver!

Okay, let me put it this way... there have been some great Adventure Paths and Modules printed for the Pathfinder RPG, but I'd rather play this one rather than any of those others!


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The way traps should have been

*****

The product is 24 pages long and opens with the cover, credits and table of contents in the first two pages.

We get into the meat of the matter on page three with "What Is A Skill Encounter." To quote the product itself, "Skill encounters are a way to challenge your PCs without resorting to combat. They let skills and abilities shine while letting the swords, shields and staves take the night off." Combat alone gets pretty old. Skill rolls in the basic game system is pretty boring, and checking for traps is usually just a hiccup often not worth the time to run it. 4th Dimension Games fixes these problems.

The next section is "Running a Skill Encounter". This contains all of the information you need to run a skill encounter. While there is a side bar that says this is a reprint from their previous product, it bears reviewing as it does in fact add some new material. Much needed was a CR rating system for awarding XP. This has now been added.

"How to Read a Skill Encounter" is the next section and details the "stat block" for a skill encounter.

Then we get into the good stuff. The traps themselves.

Vicious Spiked Pit is first. I liked that it offered options for every man for themselves (Escape) as well as teamwork (Disable) options. My favorite line in the trap? Failures: Failure ultimately results in death. YES! Someone is NOT afraid to kill PCs!

The complications are well worth the read and makes the evil GM in me giggle with glee. Seriously any complication that includes Tetanus is just AWESOME!

Next up, Poisonous Gas Chamber. We get a nice map usable for the trap. Options available are to smash holes in the doors and walls to vent the gases, and to disable the gas trap. So the Barbarian FINALLY gets to do something besides set the trap off!

Possible complications include a Stubbed Toe, which is just genius, to an Exploding Vent. Useful spells are listed, a few of which I would never have thought of, such as Rope Trick.

Sucking Vortex follows. This is a 2 part trap as well, with an individual option to get away from the Vortex, and a teamwork option to shut down the trap.

Some of the complications include Empty Your Pockets, in which a PC's gear comes loose and is sucked into the Vortex. Very nasty. The Vortex Explosion shoots lightning bolts out at the PCs. Useful spells for this trap includes Summon Monster! Seriously who uses Summon Monster to disable traps, but it works here!

The classic Flooding Room is next and possible complications include electric eels (again an evil GM laugh), and getting so angry you forget to hold your breath! The failure for this trap is "The PCs drown." Gotta love traps that actually KILL.

Last we have the Collapsing Dungeon. I have to quote the flavor text at the beginning of this one. "As you savor your hard won victory, everything goes silent. You hear a grinding noise followed by a rumbling that slowly intensifies. The floor below you begins to shake as dust and pebbles of stone rain down. Your shock subsides as you abruptly realize the complex is falling in on itself AND YOU’RE STILL INSIDE!"

The last two pages include the OGL and back cover.

The horrible yellow background in the previous Skill Encounters book has been toned down and looks just fine now.

One question for you. Do you want your traps to challenge your players and bore them to sleep? If you want to challenge your players you MUST have this product.

Eagerly awaiting the next product in the series.


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Take the game up to 11!

*****

Pathfinder, D&D, and a host of other roleplaying games are essentially about killing monsters. The combat chapter, most of the Spells and Equipment chapters are essentially about finding a creature and killing it. Hack-n-slash.

Now, perhaps there is actually a reason to bother writing down skill ranks. Skills have been the most neglected part of the game. Until now.

Entire encounters can be designed using these very simple rules that focus on skills and roleplaying rather than hack-n-slash. Encounters become more than just the Cleric making a Diplomacy roll and moving on. Most every player should be able to contribute something to a Skill Encounter now.

The rules are simple, easy to implement in ANY game and the five samples are perfect for giving you the feel of just how much this can cause a boring forgettable encounter to explode into an encounter the players will be talking about for years to come.

One word of warning! The background page is YELLOW... The guys at 4D should really drop the yellow. It's hard on the eyes and a waste of ink.


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