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PaizoCon 2014!

The Ebon Vault: Swords of Legend (PFRPG) PDF

****( ) (based on 1 rating)

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A Good Hero Needs a Great Sword

Swords are one of the most iconic aspects of the fantasy genre, and nearly every roleplayer has a special place in his or her heart for an interesting magical blade. This book provides a host of new options for creating customized and unique swords, and also endeavors to make the wonder and excitement of magical swords available to characters earlier in the game.

In addition to nearly 20 specific weapons, each of which has an in-depth physical description and history to match its unique statistics, this book contains over 30 new magic weapon special abilities, five new special materials to craft swords from, and also introduces mundane weapon enhancements, special upgrades that can be added to a weapon when it is crafted, which are not magical, but reflect special features added by the smith, such as a thin blade or a protective basket hilt.

From mundane weapon enhancements and easily accessible special abilities to extremely powerful specific magic weapons, this book has something for characters at every level of play. If you’re a fan of bladed weapons, and want to add a little magic to your game, look no further than The Ebon Vault: Swords of Legend.

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Product Reviews (1)

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 1 rating)

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Some truly uncommon swords, mostly in a positive way

****( )

This pdf is 41 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 36 pages of content, so let's check out whether these swords are sharp...or whether they are rather dull!

In tradition with the new NNW-standard, layout adheres to the two-column standard and while the pdf is full-color, it comes as a printer-friendly and a non-printer-friendly version, the latter featuring used-parchment look. It should be noted, that while it's not in any way taxing on the printer to print out the pdf, even the printer-friendly version is still full-color. The pdfs are extensively bookmarked for ease of reference.

After 2 pages of aptly-narrated IC-introduction to the matter at hand and 1 page of introduction to the swords, we are given the first section of the book, detailing numerous new materials and both mundane and magical enhancements. The materials range from mundane bone, gold and stainless steel to magic-cancelling null-steel and crystallized malice, which grows progressively more dangerous to enemies and wielder with each enemy slain, hungering for more souls to consume. I'm a big fan of the weapon enhancements as an idea and from peace-scabbards to serrated blades, I do like them all. The new magical qualities have some interesting abilities, starting at less than +1 in ability ("Glowing" e.g. adding only +100 GP base price) and go up to +5. We get 35 new qualities, some of which, though, are x-wave weapons, electricity e.g., that, when unsheathed, blast elemental-damage in 10 ft. around the wielder and weapons whose blades consist of fire, force etc. The best quality, though, is the one with the "Vanishing" quality, which sends the victim of a hit on a failed save to a duel-demi-plane. Nice and devious!

Next up are 18 new unique blades, ranging from 4301 GP to 225320 GP in value. As you know if you've been following my reviews, I'm not a friend of the commoditization of magic items and prefer them to be unique. The items here all come with physical descriptions and extensive background stories, which is nice. On the other hand, I have some problems with some of the blades: The "Decimator" is a blade I'd never allow my PCs to wield: It always does 1/10th of the enemies max HP damage, no matter the Str-score or miscellaneous modifiers of the wielder, killing ANYTHING in 10 hits. A nice idea, but the implication for e.g. dragons, the tarrasque, your bbeg, etc. is horrible. The "Gambler's blade" lets you treat 3 die-rolls (saves, skills, attacks) per day as a rolled 20. Sorry, but not in my campaign for a meager 30K blade. The magnetic sword, on the other hand, rocks: You can use telekinesis on metallic enemies - nice idea! On the side of nice, yet dangerous ideas that might make for nice quest items: "the Sword of the Blind Prophet" automatically hits on odd rolls and misses on even rolls, unmodified by any other modifiers. While powerful, this enchantment is balanced by the miss-chance. Especially falchion-friends get a lot of nice fodder.

Conclusion:
As mentioned, layout is nice. Formatting and editing are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. I liked the materials, the mundane qualities and some of the weapon qualities, although the elemental waves are rather bland and felt like filler, there are others that make up for it. The unique blades mostly are nice and the extensive stories are a great asset to have as a DM. However, you have to understand that the blades push the boundaries of what you'd expect from magical blades and while most of them are great, there are some you might consider problematic or that can be considered plot-devices/artifacts rather than regular blades. As long as you take this into account, you'll probably enjoy this book. How to rate this, then? Well, that's a hard one, as while most of the book is cool and imaginative, the content is rather high up on the power-scale and rather narrative-driven. If you're in for rather modular weapons, this book might be an average buy for you, at 3 stars. For people like myself, who prefer the story over the mechanics and see the latter as a way to enforce the former, this fares better: While some items are problematic in the context of the world, it still offers some great pieces, resulting in a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



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