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The Ebon Vault: Power of the Ring (PFRPG) PDF

***** (based on 1 rating)

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One Book of Rings to Rule Them All!

Rings are supposed to be one of the most exciting, special, and downright magical of all the magic items that adventurers can get their hands on. Somewhere along the line however, it seems like they’ve mostly wound up in two categories: overpriced novelties that no one ever bothers to pick up, and boring, straight-forward utilitarian items, like a ring of protection +1.

With The Ebon Vault: Power of the Ring, we aim to give rings the same kind of treatment that The Ebon Vault series has already provided for staves, orbs, swords, and armor, making a variety of new and exciting rings with fun and interesting powers, while also aiming to make rings more affordable and accessible at a variety of levels. With over 50 new types of magic rings, as well as six new intelligent rings with fully-fleshed out personalities, backgrounds, physical descriptions, and unique powers, there will be a ring in here for everyone. Beyond that, though, there are 20 multi-purpose physical descriptions for rings of any type, which can easily be used to add a little flavor to something as hum-drum as a ring of sustenance.

So whether you’re bored of existing rings and want something new, or are just looking for a few more options when outfitting your latest character, or even if you’re a GM who wants to make the next treasure hoard contain something really memorable, this book has something for everyone.

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Product Reviews (1)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 1 rating)

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More rings than you could throw into Mt. Doom

*****

I needn’t talk about the archetypal nature of magic rings in fantasy. From the Ring of Gyges to Green Lantern, magic rings that grant their wielder great power are timeless. This continues to be the case in Pathfinder, which allows for all sorts of magic rings. All too often, however, these are minor things easily forgotten about (e.g. a ring of swimming) or are so standard as to be assumed for treasure (e.g. rings of protection). The Ebon Vault: Power of the Ring, from Necromancers of the Northwest, seeks to shake things up a bit.

Power of the Ring weighs in at forty-seven pages, and does most of what a PDF should. It has full, nested bookmarks, for example. However, copy-and-paste has not been enabled, so if you’re looking to copy something onto an electronic character sheet, you’ll need to retype it by hand. The book has no printer-friendly option, which might be a bit of a problem for those looking for a hard copy; while the book’s only interior illustrations are stock art of various rings, all of the pages are set against a cream-colored “parchment” background.

The book opens with a bit of fiction, which was actually much more intriguing than I thought it would be. Showing the exchange between a thief and one of the book’s intelligent rings, the banter between the two (particularly the bombastic ring, which kept giving the thief cutesy pet names) was quite fun, enough so that I wouldn’t have minded reading more about their exploits.

The book quickly moves onto a more proper introduction before giving us twenty descriptions of ring appearances. These aren’t tied to any particular magic rings, and so can be used for whatever rings your characters happen to find. Each description is a paragraph long, and doesn’t want for details; indeed, there’s so much detail to each description that you may find it might not be quite right for the magic you’re attaching to it (e.g. a stylized carving of two serpents about to swallow a gemstone might be a bit off for a ring of jumping).

The bulk of the book is devoted to new magic rings a la those in the Core Rules. More than fifty are presented (though a few of these are variants on the same kind of ring, e.g. the ring of bowmanship and its lesser and greater variants; this sort of thing doesn’t happen often, though) and they run quite the gamut. Unlike in the Core Rules, these rings tend to have a wide range of costs, from just a few hundred GP to three hundred thousand!

In terms of effect, most of these rings avoid more prosaic effects, focusing instead on a broader set of powers not easily replicated by spells or feats. For every ring of flying (which grants a +5 to Fly checks) there are things like the ring of branding (dealing fire damage to put a magic brand on the target, which requires powerful magic to remove and once a day can let you teleport them to you) or the ring of infernal wishes (putting you in contact with a powerful devil, and the more wishes it grants you the more closely you tie yourself to the infernal ones) or the ring of the body (you no longer suffer from aging, poisons, or diseases…but they catch up to you when you remove the ring). There’s a lot here for GMs and players to be inspired by.

Several rings are segregated into separate sections near the end of the book. The Five Legendary Rings of Matthias the Mad, for example, showcase four (the fifth is in the following section) rings with a hefty back-story, as well as unique powers. The Intelligent Rings section likewise presents a half-dozen living rings that gives us not only their appearance and powers, but also their origins and personalities (including, I was glad to see, the ring from the opening fiction).

The book closes out with a table of one hundred magic command words. These don’t appear to be based on any real-world language, consisting of nonsense words that can be assigned as necessary. Needless to say, this is quite valuable for any sort of command-activated magic item, not just rings. Although only a page long, this table has usefulness beyond the product it’s found in.

Overall, I was quite taken with what this book offers. The rings it presents range from weak but versatile (the key ring, which can copy a small set of keys to instantly unlock their matching locks) to the supremely powerful (the ring of dragon command, which grants great powers and defenses against dragons, as well as dragon-themed abilities). There was the occasional typo (the bookmarks, for example, list that last one as the “ding of dragon command”), but these were too rare for me to take off points for that. I do wish that they had taken care of the copy-and-paste issues, and had a printer-friendly version, but again I find that these aren’t so bad that I can lower the book’s final score.

Were I able, I’d give this book four-and-a-half stars, mostly do to the minor technical complaints. I‘ll round up though, as these are all issues that won’t come up unless you want to try and manipulate the book’s format. If you want to expand the nature of the magic rings in your game, glance inside The Ebon Vault: Power of the Ring. What you find will be…precious.



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