Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Belladonna, the Face of Love Unrequited (PFRPG) PDF (based on
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"In your dreams."
Dreams can be both beautiful and cruel, and no denizen of the Tarnished Souk exemplifies both those qualities as devastatingly as Belladonna. As the stunning proprietor of the Nightshade Palace, the Coliseum Morpheuon's premiere nightspot, she is a master of others' vices and desires, providing drinks and indulgences only possible in the realm of the unreal. But beauty is only skin deep, and beneath the mien of a joyful and engaging hostess lurks a dark secret. Hers is the face of the one who didn't love you back, and more than any wound or weapon, that pain kills.
This product provides Game Masters with details on a harrowing heartthrob found amongst the Faces of the Tarnished Souk, ready for immediate use in any campaign—but especially for use within the Coliseum Morpheuon. Each entry features ingenious stat-blocks from multiple OGL sources, history, motivation, secrets, and insight into the NPC's most carefully guarded dreams, along with complete game statistics for low, middle, and high levels of play.
Within you will find: Belladonna, a dangerous beauty guaranteed to break hearts and shatter expectations.
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Belladonna, the Face of Love Unrequited by Rite Publishing
This product is 18 pages long. It starts with a cover,and credits. (2 pages)
Belladonna, the Face of Love Unrequited (13 pages)
It starts off with a bit of history about her, followed by some lore checks and advice on how to use her. After a page of this we get to the three stat blocks, with advice on tactics. The stat blocks are.
CR17 - nightmare nymph child half-elf taskshaper 15
CR13 - nightmare nymph child half-elf taskshaper 11
CR8 - nymph child half-elf taskshaper 7
The extra's include 7 feats, 2 magic items and 11 magical drinks. Plus 2 new templates, nightmare and nymph child. Both of which I really liked a lot.
It ends with a OGL and ads. (3 pages)
Closing thoughts. The art work is black and white and pretty good as a whole. Editing and format are very good. She has a pretty interesting history with nice advice on how to use her. She is more or less the classic femme fatale as far as concepts go. The use of the taskshaper class fits this NPC very well and should come as a nice or nasty surprise to your PC's. Her relationship with some of the other NPC's in the series was very nice. The only thing a bit of a nitpick I have is the final piece of art leaves a big blank space at the end of the page. Giving it the impression the art work was clipped off half way threw the image. I don't know if it was or if that was really all there is, but it looked like it got cut in half. Beyond the one nitpick I have I really have nothing negative to say, I really like the two templates. So what's my rating? I am going to give this one a 4.5, very good. But a bit simpler than most of the NPC's in the series.
This installment of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk series is 18 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisements and 1 page SRD, leaving 13 pages for the 3 incrantions of Belladonna, so let's check her out!
The trope of the femme fatale is one of the most poignant, vivid and alluring ones in existence, at least to me - the strong female who uses seduction and clever manipulations to attain her goals without truly masking the sense of underlying danger her company spells for her suitors makes for a powerful image that has sparked many a great narration. While these characters are often underrepresented in fantasy gaming due to a focus not on combat, but on wits, this installment offers a twist on the trope that is both exciting and charming - players should beware, though,
At her lowest level (CR 7) incarnation, Belladonna gets the nymph-child template and her base-class already elicited a grin from my side - after all, which class to better represent the trope of the femme fatale than RiP's excellent and very modular taskshaper class? For those of you unfamiliar with it, fret not, all the information necessary to run Belladonna are contained herein. The shapeshifting, ability mimicking and pool-based highly versatile wechselbalg-class is nevertheless a pdf I'd recommend you to buy.
Her mid-level incarnation adds the nightmare creature template and clocks in at CR 13, but it is here I should mention that, of course, the lady comes with one page of advice and information how to use her as well as dreamburning rules. The cool trend of tying the interaction of the Tarnished Souk's legends continues, as she may be the sweetheart and ultimate downfall of the werewolf rebel Le Loup Solitaire.
Her highest-level incarnation clocks in at CR 17 and has a neat plethora of options that might make her one of the very best agents imaginable.
The additional content that accompanies her makes this a must-buy for fans of the taskshaper in particular - 7 new feats, several of which deal with the taskshaper's moment of chance mechanic are provided - very nice! We also get 2 magical items as well as my favorite section of this pdf - magical libations.
While the dangers of alcohol are evident to almost anyone and most campaigns have a rule or another how to handle drunk characters and iconic bar brawls, magical ales and wines nevertheless are among the painfully underrepresented items in magical fantasy worlds - this FoTS remedies this lack at least partially by offering 11 magical libations ranging from benevolent to downright despicable. The write-ups come with a table of containers and the amount therein, cool details on how the drinks are served, prices for cups, gallons and barrels and construction requirements.
The drinks also come with 2 construction requirements, offering some versatility when it come sto the drinks.
Editing and formatting are very good, no glitch impeded my ability to enjoy or understand this pdf. Layout adheres to the classic b/w-two-column RiP-standard and the pdf comes with bookmarks.
While I was not too impressed by the artwork (not due to the fanservice, but due to me not liking this particular drawing), that's nothing I'd hold against the pdf at this price-point. While Belladonna's templates are not the most complex ones I've seen in the FoTS-series, she has other "virtues", i.e. the support of the excellent taskshaper-class (which makes her abilities quite uncommon and is guaranteed to surprise your PCs) as well as the magical drinks make this a very worthwhile purchase, especially if you also happen to own Le Loup Solitaire's pdf. When all is said and done, Belladonna is indeed an excellent representation of the femme fatale and a more than worthy and cool addition to the Tarnished Souk's menagerie. My final verdict will thus be 5 stars.
There is something inherently intriguing about the femme fatale. She is a figure difficult to render as a believable character yet most satisfying when accomplished well. Poignant and free-willed, Belladonna is a character that will provide players much enjoyment and their PCs much frustration in the Tarnished Souk. Belladonna has a secret, more than one, and not all her own. She earned these secrets like the scars across her soul and heart over the many years she dwelled in this place. She began her stay in the Coliseum Morpheuon as a slave. Now, she is a power in the Tarnished Souk. As the hostess of the Souk’s most popular tavern, she knows everything about anyone that is worth knowing. It is a certainty she will immediately seek to find out all she can about anyone new, like the PC’s. Yet her greatest power is not her knowledge of the secrets of the Souk, it is the nightmare itself. For some, Belladonna is their worst nightmare.
As with all of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk, Belladonna has three builds at different levels. They include shapechanging and other abilities related to the Taskshaper class. Note: the Taskshaper class is found in a separate supplement by Rite Publishing, but it is not absolutely necessary to run Belladonna. All the needed information to run her is found in her stat blocks. Also included are special feats, such as the essential seduction feat that she uses to affect the reactions of those around her. She comes with her own set of magical items.
In addition, and this is worth the price of admission all on its own, a fascinating array of magical libations fulfill the exotic desires of the denizens of the Tarnished Souk; from Ambrosia, nectar of the gods, to Roggut Whisky, to the official beer of the Coliseum Morpheuon: The Wise and Eternal Khan’s Chimeric Beverage of Ten Thousand Enlightened Victories. In all, there are eleven magical beverages for your use or manipulation to fit within your own campaign.
As has also become typical of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk, there are new templates, the Nightmare Creature and the Nymph Child. What is not included is the NPC mentioned as having a close personal relationship to Belladona, Le Loup Solitaire. This NPC is found in his own edition of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk. He isn’t absolutely necessary, but his presence does fill out a bit of her background and story. I heartily recommend if you purchase this supplement, you get the other one as well. As a pair, their story is that much more meaningful and has an important part to play in the landscape of the Tarnished Souk.
I have come to expect the typical high standards for character concepts, builds, interesting new feats, spells, templates and the like, out of Matt Banach, Justin Sluder, and Rite Publishing in their Faces of the Tarnished Souk series. Though there are a couple of minor editing errors, none detract from Belladonna’s usefulness and fascinating story. With highly appropriate art sprinkled throughout, Belladonna does not disappoint. She earns a 4.5 of 5 stars from me, rounding up to the full five for a fascinating character concept full of roleplay potential.