The Genius Guide to Relics of the Godlings (PFRPG) PDF (based on
Super Genius Games
Add to Cart
Mythology is full of heroes who carried one or two amazing items throughout their adventuring careers. Sometimes the acquisition of the item marked the hero as special from the beginning (such as King Arthur pulling the sword from the stone), and in other cases the items were gained as part of an early adventure (Hercules killed the Nemean lion as the first of his Twelve Labors, and thereafter wore its hide as armor). Often, special magic items are given to heroes by the gods (Perseus famously receives gifts ranging from Hades's helm of invisibility to Hermes's winged sandals), or other supernatural forces (many swords of Norse mythology, including Dainsleif, Hqfud, Ridill, and Tyrfing, are forged by the dwarves, who also make magic items for the Norse gods).
While such items are clearly the progenitors of the magic items found in modern fantasy RPGs, there's often a serious disconnect between how the two kinds of items work. Mythological items are often an important and defining feature of the heroes who carry them, and accompany those heroes throughout a large chunk of their adventures. Most magic items in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook are useful only at a fairly narrow range of character levels, and thus likely to be abandoned as more useful magic items become available. In terms of game mechanicc, this is a good design as it keeps characters excited about new treasure and ensures that much of the loot gained by overcoming encounters needs to be spent on or traded for new gear to overcome more powerful encounters.
However, it can be disappointing for players who grow attached to a magic item. If Dara the paladin overcomes a minor fiend early in her career, using a cold iron weapon she receives from the spirit of a local hero who died a generation earlier in the lair, she may be saddened to learn it's nearly impossible for her to take the time to have it enchanted to keep up with her as she gains levels. While not every magic item needs to be a prized possession throughout a hero's career, the idea of iconic, special magic items that do take such a role are appealing to many game groups. To help provide an option to fill those roles, Relics of the Godlings presents a new magic item, the godling relic, and numerous rules for adding them to a campaign.
This pdf is 19 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, leaving 17 1/3 pages of content - quite a bunch, so let's check this out!
So, what exactly are those relics? To put it simply, the relics contained herein are magic items that increase their prowess over the course of the levels of your character, thus, they essentially grow with you. If you're familiar to the concept: They have essentially grown from 3.5's legacy items and got rid of the penalties that made the latter unusable. The pdf opens with an extensive discussion on how to use relics in your game and also provides a 4-feat-chain to gain access to the powers of the relic, though the chain is optional and serves as an optional balancing factor for wary and conservative DMs - neat. After these considerations and alternate approaches, we are introduced to 8 sample relics influenced by real-world mythology - from the Aegis to the Gjallerhorn and the perhaps lesser-known berserker-blade Nageling, which is probably inspired by Dietrich von Bern's blade Naglering, we get iconic, cool items that offer some kind of new ability at each level - i.e. the items have a20-level-progression just like your PCs.
The true masterpiece of this pdf, though, would be the rudimentary tool-kit presented in the last 3 pages that enables you to design your own relic-weapons. To provide further guidance, a sample weapon template is included in the deal to give you a better example of how to design such a weapon. I think more of these templates would have been useful to say the least.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to SGG'S 3-column, full-color standard and the cover art is beautiful, while the interior art is ok b/w - nothing to write home about, though. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a pity. All right, I'll come right out and say it: I'm a SUCKER for scaling magic items. I LOVE them. And the items in this pdf are iconic, cool and make me want to have them. They also provide a new ability each level, which is awesome. Even better, each of the items comes with at least one ability that is not only cool, but rather unique and tied to the item. Sounds awesome all around, doesn't it? Well...yes and no. You see, Purple Duck Games has a whole series devoted to legacy-style items, the "Legendary..."-series. Some of the installments of said series feature original pieces of b/w-artwork for each item. While legendary items don't offer an ability each level (here, the SGG-book is superior), they come with requirements (so not every dverp can use the items) and also feature background stories and lore-sections, something the SGG-book falls flat on. While these items feel like legendary treasures, they do lack this distinct quality, the story, the tragedy, the triumph that makes the wielder feel like being a continuation of one item's legendary destiny. Furthermore, the items herein, while iconic, are, as far as I could tell, derived from real-world mythology and while I love the unique mechanic representations of their powers, I somewhat felt that they lacked more original pieces of equipment.
To sum it up: The relics per se are great, I love the diy-toolkit and would have loved to see that one expanded further. An ability each level is better than in the PDG-supplements. BUT: Each PDG-installment offers vastly more weapons/items/shields/armor, and provides lore and background story sections. Here, the purple ducks clearly win, especially with their latest offerings (Legendary IV to VI). How, then, do I rate this? It's a good file, to be sure. It's crunch is excellent, it's by SGG, after all. But it lacks the spark that made me love "Legendary Armors" or "Legendary 5: Exotic Weapons". The innovation of providing an ability each level and the different approaches are neat, but in the end, in spite of the excellent relics herein, I was left feeling somewhat dissatisfied. Thus, due to the stellar PDG-files, I'm "only" settling for a final verdict of 4 stars - a great resource for legacy-style weapons, but as written, it can't hold a torch to the cream of the "Legendary"-series.
Having just read through this book I must say I was impressed.
The concept of magic items that level with you impressed me.
It includes all the rules needed to include Relics into your game, including alternate ways of paying for them. Sample Relics, rules on how to design your own relics and two sample relic templates Staff and Weapon.
My only want is more Relic Templates such as Armor, Rings, Wondrous Items etc.
These can be used as plot devices, rewards, and more. I plan on using this book in the next game I run.
At $3.99 it is well worth its price much like any Super Genius Games product. It is a fitting supplement to the Genius Guide to the Godling, Mystic Godling and Godling Ascendant books I recommend every book in this line.
My Rating 4.5 rounded up to a 5 (Hint: more templates please)
I'm usually skeptical of 3pp (Tome of Horrors being an exception), but, I've been eying the whole "Godling" package for a while now. I have not been disappointed. I do feel that this fell a little flat of my expectations. However, it's still good!
First, it gives GM's (like myself) a way to introduce that first magic item they find to actually be a hidden relic somehow. The most common problem my players have faced is that they might have grown attached to a certain weapon, but might be forced to give it up due to how well it can be used for combat. With nine ways to make this possible, GM's can now make a "relic item" manageable (along with a few feats as one of the options).
Next, they give a few examples of relic items from lore. These aren't bad! But, I think I was hoping for something more along the lines of more enchantments to put on a weapon or how to make a relic item, but not in COST only; basically, artifact weapons.
A few more item templates would have been good as well...but still, it's not a bad guide! $4 really won't kill my wallet, but I was thinking it might have been something different all together. I wish I could give 3.5 stars, because I do feel it's more than a 3, but not quite a 4.
Product for the GM's who want more for their players
As a GM who was doing something similar in a current campaign, this PDF caught my eye. The PDF is well layed out, with four pages explaining the relic rules and how to balance implementing them. After that, 10 pages cover eight example relics that cover a variety of roles, so out of the box there's good ideas for most player types. The end of the PDF gives a couple of templates for ideas on creating your own relics.
Compared to what I was doing, this is well thought out, providing bonus to the relic item each level, making the item's growth meaniningful throughout its owner's career. The PDF does list its pricing system to show balance with the normal item wealth so unless you choose to do so, adding these rules in your campaign shouldn't break the bank.
I personally wish there were a few more templates for item creation (for rings and other wonderous items) and another couple of relics, but what's there does work. The only other potential gripe could be the artwork, but that's just being nitpicky (the cover is pretty stylish, though).
Overall, the PDF is a solid choice for GM's that want his/her PC to have a sense of ownership with an item or two. Well worth picking up, especially at SGG's pricing.