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Perpdepog's page

23 posts. 9 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.



1 to 5 of 9 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

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The Best Bestiary of Big, Bad, Bad Guys

*****

Each Pathfinder bestiary seems to follow a certain theme, and Bestiary 6's theme is really big, really powerful, and really scary enemies. For this reason alone I'd heartily recommend it to anyone who, like me, just gets a kick out of seeing creatures who you don't expect to be fighting until after campaigning for a year with the same character. Some of the highlights include the Archdevils (all eight of them, not simply two or three), all four of The Horsemen, as well as stats for their mounts, some more Great Old Ones (including one who may as well be an actual Outer God), some more powerful goodly outsiders, loads of nature-protecting spirits both good and bad, and Qlippoth Lords who I've been waiting to get some love, any at all, since they were mentioned way back in I believe Inner Sea Gods.

Apart from that this book gives love to a couple other kinds of monster that haven't really received the attention they deserved until now. Things like vermin, oozes, and plants are finally pants-wettingly terrifying, ranging from moss men who can raise forests against puny civilized settlements, to people who transform into were-insects, to what amounts to an animate Sphere of Annihilation. Constructs also get some attention, particularly in the form of the Charnal God, which is the embittered essence of a now-dead deity who lashes out through its statues at its worshippers, or enemies of the faith, or really, anyone at all. Incidentally, that entry has a great bit of lore for those familiar with The Books of the Damned.

And speaking of the books, this bestiary also fulfils another function that I feel like a lot of these main product line bestiaries should, namely cherry-picking fun creatures from the other product lines and making them more accessible. We get lots of that here. I recognized monsters from a few different adventure paths such as Wrath of the Righteous and Hell's Rebels, as well as The Books of the Damned and some of the more original creatures from The Inner Sea Bestiary and Occult Bestiary.

To top it all, this book placed emphasis on some enemy types I am just a fan of, clockworks and qlippoth, primarily. I'm already planning new characters around the clockwork hound alone.

If there are any flaws in this book they are two-fold. Firstly, because we have so many powerful monsters with two-page spreads we get fewer monsters overall. Secondly, I don't really feel like we got much more in the way of PC races in this book. 0HD races certainly, but they all have the distinct feel of NPC-only stuff to me, though it was still cool to see races of the fey and aberration types.

All in all, flaws aside, this is a very solid edition to an already solid product line, and it's well worth the asking price. Ia' Ia' Tawil at'Umr!


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This Book Made Me Care About Molthune

****( )

By and large, I'm much more of a fan of the fantastical in my tabletop roleplaying. The backdrops of wars and uprisings don't interest me over much when it's also possible to travel to Hell and punch devils in the face with enchanted gauntlets.
This book changed that opinion. It presents the two fuding nations of Molthune and Nirmathas and their struggle against one another in a fun, flavorful, and interesting way. More importantly though, it doesn't commit the mistake that many such books do of subtly painting one of the factions as evil. I sympathized with Molthune just as much as Nirmathas while reading it, and I'd love to see that conflict play out over a table as either a player or a GM. Thankfully, the book suggests several such places where that can happen, from fey-haunted woods to bustling towns and more.

There are one or two sticking points, however. Namely, there isn't enough space. There are two nations detailed here, not just one, and because of that we have a lot more background to read through and nowhere near as many fun player goodies like magic items, spells, or class archetypes. Actually, there are none of those in the book at all. We don't even have a bestiary apart from six troops which, if you're like me and love the concept of troops, isn't really that much of a downside. Nevertheless, the fact that there are no new items or anything to play with was something of a letdown. The militia system is also somewhat confusing, and it's equally confusing why this system wasn't placed into the Player's Guide or in the adventure path itself. Does that mean that this book will be a required extra purchase if that system is going to be used?

Overall, this is a fun book about a pair of nations which, until now, haven't really gotten the attention or love they probably deserve, and that's good. It is trying to talk about both of them at once, as well as introduce a new subsystem at the expense of other, more immediately useful or fun content, and that's less good. Still, if you're running Ironfang or drool over history and good settings to have a war-themed campaign, this is definitely worth picking up.


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A Fun Toybox With a Few Flaws

****( )

And make no mistake, this, like many of the "Codex" line of RPG books, is a big ol' toybox. It seriously feels like dumping out a massive bin of old-school mix-and-match action figures onto the floor and playing Knights vs. Spacemen, or Cops & Cowboys. This is one of the best possible reasons to buy this book.
The groups are all either tried-and-tested fantasy tropes like the mercenary gang, doomsday cultists, douchebag guards, brutal slavors, or tribe of barbarians, possess that flare for reinventing classic fantasy stories that Paizo is so well known for such as the regal court or merry outlaws, or a mix of both, such as the Demon Knights and Death Cult. Want the evil queen from Snow White? They got that. Ever wondered what it would be like if Robin Hood were a jerk? They got that. Felt like tossing in some generic snake-themed ninja bad-guys for that 80's action flick feel? They got that.

That having been said, the book isn't perfect. There are two main issues with the book, though I admit that one of them is simply a matter of taste and may not be an issue at all. Firstly, whoever contributed to this book really, really, really loves rangers. Seriously they're everywhere. I understand that they are a fairly easy class to adapt to many villainous roles such as slavor, merc, cultist, tracker, assassin, etc, but it would have been nice to see more variety. Secondly, the book is missing some essential information when it comes to the goodies you can take from it. As an example, the book presents a very fun and flavorful new oracle mystery, but totally misses writing in the final revelation for that mystery, which will hopefully be fixed with the book's second printing.

Over all, aside from some small gripes and editing issues this book is great. At least half the fun of these sorts of books is reading about the plot hooks and suggestions for the various villains, and Villain Codex does not disappoint in this regard. As always, the ten dollar price tag for the PDF makes it an even more attractive option as well. This is a definite must-buy for those who like compilation books, are like me and get slightly lazy when it comes to building NPCs, or just want some springboards for generating minor and major story arcs.


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Half a Hoard's Worth of Dragon

***( )( )

Firstly, let me say something. I am not actually the biggest fan of dragons. When it comes to powerful fantasy foes I'm much more likely to look to some raving demon or something chthonic with lots of eyes and mouths rather than a big fire-spitting lizard with wings.

That having been said, this is still a pretty solid book. One of its biggest selling points is that it lets sorcerers and bloodragers finally have official rulings on how to handle all the bloodlines that might come from all the new dragon types that have been presented in Bestiaries 2 through 5. Likewise, it's also got a few fun archetypes, such as a Cha-based monk and a dragonborn-ish fighter, which is something I personally have been interested in for a while, fan in dragons or no. Add in a smattering of spells, including two new Form of the Dragon varients which feel different enough from the base version to be interesting, as well as some rather nifty style feats and a feat for fluffing out your draconic heritage, and you have a pretty solid book with a fair number of options to pick through.

However, like the title suggests, it's also got some drawbacks that stop the book from being four or even five stars. That nifty fighter archetype above? It's written so that its big ability, free Arcane Strike, doesn't scale with your level, and it misprinted powers replacing bonus feats at levels when the fighter does not, in fact, get them. Some of the other archetypes are, strictly speaking, worse than the base class' options (I'm looking at you, dragonblood chymist). Finally, the biggest draw to this book, at least for me, turned out to be something of a letdown. The drake companion seems much too restrictive to be worth taking, and its progression turns the cavalier archetype, the dragonrider, into something more akin to a dragonwalker or dragongroomer until ninth or thirteenth level depending on your size, which was seriously disappointing when you consider you can get other mounts, such as a griffon, for much less effort and much more reward.

Is this book an amazing resource? No, honestly I'd say it isn't. It doesn't have me coming back again and again like some other Player Companions do. It does, however, bring a bunch of new draconic items, spells, and feats into the game though, and while I may not be the biggest fan of scales, blistering breath, and sleeping on gold, I also recognize that they are iconic as Hell and having options devoted to them is not a bad thing.


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A Mercilessly Good Read

*****

Hellknights are probably the Golarion-specific organization I've been most looking forward to reading about, and so I was really looking forward to release when this book was announced.

Happily, it doesn't disappoint. The overviews of the Hellknight orders are all interesting, and while it is true that they are all meant to be ultimately lawful, the different philosophies of each order are broad and varied enough that making heroes or villains belonging to the Hellknights doesn't require jumping through mental hoops to justify their alignments. Each order also comes with a smattering of options to add to a variety of classes, and serves to broaden the possible character builds that can call themselves Hellknights without necessarily having to take either of the Hellknight-centric prestige classes. My personal favorites are the Godclaw Mystery for oracles and the Faceless Enforcer archetype for the vigilante.

If this book does have a weakness it is the relative poverty of its items section. While there are a few items, and they are interesting and serve to help broaden options for Hellknights who don't feel like being heavily armored wrecking machines, the almost utter lack of any magic items, particularly weapons or armor, is noticeable and slightly disappointing. The magic spells, feats, and traits serve to soothe the sting slightly, but still.

Overall, if you are looking for adventure seeds, encounter ideas, or just background on one of the more iconic organizations in the Inner Sea, then this book is a must-have. If you are looking specifically for ways to be a Hellknight without having to play the armored tank, this book is a must-have. If you are searching for a treasure trove of Hell-themed and Hellknight-themed items this book may not be your first pick, but all in all is still definitely worth getting.


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