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Book of Heroic Races: Half-Faerie Dragons (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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Time for Some Thrilling Heroics

A new day calls for a new kind of hero. The Book of Heroic Races brings you new and balanced races to play in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Half-faerie dragons, the scions of faerie dragons and humans, combine light-hearted mayhem and good-natured adventuring into one unforgettable race. With their euphoric breath weapons and songs in their hearts, this race proves true in your hands.

This 29-page PDF details the half-faerie dragon race, their unique magical arts, and their whimsical class options. This download also includes the Hero Lab file for easy integration into your game. Download this unique race to enhance your world and your game.

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Product Reviews (3)

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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Actually rather interesting trickster race with minor balance issues

****( )

This pdf is 29 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC/introduction, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 24 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So this is the pdf that allows one to play Half-Faerie dragons. If someone had told me I'd one day review such a book, I would have laughed that person in the face - which is thematically fitting, as few words describe this race's outlook as well as "whimsy". As the superbly amusing monologue that starts this pdf proves, Half-faerie dragons may not be too wise, but damn, they can be fun to play as a race - or can they? Well, let's take a look at the mechanics: Gaining +2 to Int, Dex and Cha, but -2 to Con and Wis, they are fragile. They also get the draconic subtype, slow speed, are small, get darkvision 60 ft., can cast prestigidation cha-mod times per day as a spell-like ability, +2 to saves versus paralysis and sleep effects and courtesy of their butterfly wings, +2 to acrobatics and fly-checks. They can also 1/day breathe a cloud of euphoria-inducing gas that staggers and sickens those hit by it, but also makes them immune to fear-effects, making it possibly to use it both offensively and defensively. Generally, the race feels like it belongs to the upper power echelon, but not necessarily in an unhinging way.

Taking a cue from the first book of the series, we go on to get extensive descriptions on the physical characteristics of the race, relations etc. - all in all well-written and compelling and also links the faerie-dragons with wishing. The 5 new traits allow you to customize your half-faerie dragon to be naturally adapt at magic, good at running away from angry tricked larger folk or better at acquiring things. Also, if you want to sparkle, there's a trait for that - just take care you don't become a vampire if you do! (Or wait, THAT would actually be damn funny...) . The race also comes with 5 alternate racial traits that exchange draconic resistance for the option to cast disguise self cha-mod times/day, for 1d3 claws and if you also lose the power to use prestigidation, you can belong to the dragon type. Alternatively, you can just sacrifice your capability of arcane whimsy for +2 to AC or sacrifice your breath weapon for the power to cast sorceror spells at +1 caster level.
Favored class options for bard, cleric, druid, paladin, rogue, sorceror, summoner and wizard are provided as well, as is a discussion on Half-Faerie Dragon psychology that includes the Art of the Prank, their approach to technology and magic, love and mating, history and lore etc. - all painting a surprisingly logical, well-presented panorama of an uncommon race to say the least. Oh, by the way, age, height and weight tables are also part of the deal.
Three new racial archetypes are presented after that, with the bookwyrm (for the wizard) replacing his 5th level bonus feat with getting half his class level as bonus to all knowledge-checks and providing the option to make these checks untrained. Thieves with Wings replace uncanny dodge and a rogue talent with gaining the fly-skill as a class skill, the feat to allow them flight as a bonus feat and the flyby attack feat. Butterfly Troubadours may boast of their exploit to the extent where they believe themselves to be actually better, mock foes and subtly weave the usage of his breath weapon into his performance, which is perhaps my favorite piece of rules in this context. This chapter also provides the new faerie dragon bloodline for sorcerors, which allows for befuddling touches, the signature euphoric breath weapon, butterfly wings, swap locations at higher levels with other beings and finally become a Half-faerie Dragon/live up to your full draconic potential. Quite nice about the bloodline: Its abilities take half-faerie dragons also into account and expand their racial powers instead of granting them like the bloodline does for none-half-faerie-dragons. The pdf also includes a new PrC for the race, the Dappled Thurge, who gets d6, 2+Int skills per level 1/2 BAB-progression and medium will-progression. What's interesting about this PrC is that it grants full spellcasting progression to BOTH prepared and spontaneous arcane spellcasting classes, taking a holistic approach to both. Rather interesting is the ability to cast progressively higher (starting at first level and going up to fifth) spells she knows (but need not have the spell prepared) by sacrificing a spontaneous spell slot of one level higher. As a capstone, the class reduces the level-increase of meta-magic applied to spells by half to a minimum of +1 spell level Int-mod/day. A thoroughly interesting design and an intriguing PrC, though the editing glitch of "prepares [sic!] spellcasting" in every line of the PrC's table sticks out like a sore thumb to me.

A total of 9 racial feats have been included in the book to develop the race further: Temporarily blinding foes with light reflected from your blade, beast-shaping into a faerie-dragon, chameleon scales that allow you to use stealth even when observed and unable to hide, telepathy as a spell-like ability and at 7th level a fly-speed are some of the new options. Breath weapons may be augmented to use them once every 1d4 rounds and via other feats, add the confused effect to the others AND even get an option to make the breath weapon make foes staggered, confused and sickened for 1 round EVEN if they save. And honestly, that is where the pdf kind of underestimates the power-level: We are speaking of a 30 ft cone every 1d4 rounds that has a save of 10+ 1/2 class level + con-mod and inflicts move OR standard actions (No more full-round actions), -2 to ability, skill checks, saves, atk and damage and the effects of confusion - for 1d6 rounds per application, at least 1 even on a successful save. As a supernatural ability that CAN'T BE DISRUPTED. This is the pay-off of 3 feats. This is insane on so many levels: Once every 4 rounds would be insanely strong even sans the confusion added. Making it apply even if foes save is really, really bad. And offering no way to counter it (it doesn't even count as poison) is just the icing on my personal Broken-rules-cake. Yes, I get that the con-penalty is significant regarding the DC, but for e.g. martially inclined half-faerie-dragons this mini-feat-tree is rather powerful and unbalanced. Either a fixed limit, getting rid of the effects even on successful saves or a way to counteract the breath weapon are required to salvage this. A feat that lets you cast any prepared spell spontaneously by sacrificing one prepared spell of one level higher would also set off my radar, but its limitation to being usable once per day saves it and makes it an actually rather interesting idea.

Among the new items introduced in this installment, we get a kind of hookah that mixes multiple breaths for a more hilarious story-telling, globes containing bottled breath, swords that deal less damage than similar ones, but count as cold iron and have a threat range of 18-20, timed purse-shaped color-bombs to stain potential thieves, laughing poison, patchwork armors and arrows that essentially are stinking bombs of the most disgusting variety. All in all, cool items!

The pdf also includes write-ups of Half-Faerie Dragon theology and 3 racial deities as well as the new butterfly and wish subdomains and 4 new spells that allow you to conjure up butterfly swarms, plaguing victims with a chaotic (and funny) curse that changes properties each day, conjure a phantom crowd to mock your foes and transform just about anything into a pile of apples or a giant apple. Why? Half-faerie dragons LOVE apples, as the flavor-text in the book shows... Thus, we also get 3 magical apple tree tokens and the "Bag of Awesome", a bag of holding that can vomit forth items in a belch of euphoria-inducing gas, has a tongue-like rope (that can be used for rope tricks) and can blast foes (while in rope-trick-form) with euphoria-gas. There is also a foolish cape and a fitting rakish hat you can use to disappear in - when the fickle magic works...
The two artifacts are also neat: One straight-forward crown and one an artifact-level rod-of-wonders-style item that can summon giant squirrels to do your bidding or rain frozen apples from the sky or turn foes into dark chocolate...

Dms daunted by integrating this race into their campaign will welcome the 4 sample communities (sans settlement statblocks or the like, but full of ideas) as well as the advice given for both players and DMs to avoid turning the inclusion of this race into a kender-fiasco V.2.0. Be sure to read this chapter carefully! We also get sample NPCs, with the first being a straight-forward bard level 1, the second being an illusionist/sorceror 4/dappled thurge 2 and the final one being truly interesting: At CR 11, the character is a bard 2/fighter 2/oracle 2/ranger 2/rogue 2/sorceror 2 - a jack-of-all trades, indeed, though one that uses all the broken breath weapon feats.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are not as good as in the seedling book - I almost overlooked the header for one of the magic items since a blank line is missing and I encountered numerous minor glitches here and there, some of which (in e.g. the case of the breath weapon-mixing hookah) make the entry harder to understand than it should be. Layout adheres to JBE's no-frills two-column standard and the b/w-artworks (one in color) are to my knowledge original and nice, though they don't reach imho the awesomeness of the seedling-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and as per the writing of this review, herolab-files have not yet been provided. The pdf is hyperlinked to d20pfsrd for your convenience, but e.g. "Good" in "for good or ill" is hyperlinked as well though it does not refer to the alignment, there are not many of these hyperlink glitches.

I didn't expect to like this pdf half as much as I did. The writing by author Todd Stewart is compelling and makes reading this supplement an actual joy, with all the information provided making the unlikely race actually come to life and feel feasible, intriguing even. I really, really liked this pdf and it would be a 5-star+ seal candidate were it not for the editing glitches and the horribly broken breath weapon-feats that need a serious beating with the nerf-bat.
Still, overall a solid addition to the series and worthy of a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


Play a Faerie and a Dragon the Same Time

****( )

Ever wanted to play a fairy or a dragon? Well, Jon Brazer Enterprises has come up with a way you can play both. Sort of. Don't think about it too much, but they're actually a half-breed of each race. The book explains how it's possible, and that it's actually based off of the actual faerie dragon itself, and another humanoid, such as humans or elves.

I'll admit that I was originally incredibly skeptical of this book simply because I wasn't sure that this would be a viable race. And to be honest, while I still don't, it'd be a fun ride if I was given this at a convention, or playing a high fantasy campaign. That is of course if my GM allowed the race in their campaign. This is specified at the beginning in the disclaimer that GMs might not use everything, but I'd certainly hope they would. The pdf is apparently Hero Lab compatible with a free download available for those that get this pdf. This is a great benefit to GMs and players alike.

The one thing that immediately grabbed my attention when I was first skimming through it was that layout. It's got a great set of bookmarks and a very easy to follow Table of Contents. Lately, 3rd party products have been either skipping this altogether, or it's incredibly vague about what details you'll be seeing. It was nice to see that these guys took their time with this product to make everyone happy.

As you read through, you're invited to visit the world of the half-faerie dragon, and gain an insight as to how their personality might work. There's a brief short story that introduces you to a captured half-faerie dragon, and he goes on about how it was a big mistake, only to reveal later that it really was his own fault for what ended up happening, but to please rescue him. I found this rather cute, and actually compelled to want to see how this played out in an actual scenario with my own PC meeting this NPC half-dragon. That's a sign of a good writer.

The art, while infrequent, is wonderful to look at. Kudos to the artist and colorist. I actually found the line art in the pdf itself to be more of a visual grab than the cover itself. It's probably because there's more tendency to show off the different looks and styles a half-faerie dragon might have, and that not all of them look the same, just like standard half-dragons. This is complimented by the very extensive descriptions of how they look, standard ways of parentage, variances of appearance, etc. It also includes the typical hair clothing styles.

Now, let's get into the actual race itself. Is it that great? Well, to be honest, I wasn't a fan of the stat bonus and penalties. It's... interesting, but there's too many. You gain +2 to A, B, and C, but have -2 to X and Y. What, no Z too? I guess I can understand why they are what they are, but still. Having that many stat bonuses and penalties to remember makes it overly complicated. It's also very limiting for what classes you're going to take. Being small size, and having a penalty to both Constitution and Wisdom, you're not going to be the front line fighter, and you're not going to be the divine caster unless you're an oracle. And because of their incredibly random personality (i.e. they basically personify chaos), the chances of you being a paladin are going to be even less. This is essentially confirmed by the description of their society and personality. Now, does this mean you can't be one? Absolutely not, you'd just be the black sheep of the race for doing so. However, the write-up on religion makes one wonder how often one would be a divine class anyways. Which is ironic considering they have both cleric and paladin as favored classes for gaining bonuses.

One thing that stands out about the race though is their breath weapon. It's a gas that while titled "euphoric" actually causes you to be staggered, sickened, and feared. Given the name you'd think it'd be the equivalent to something like Hideous Laughter, but apparently not. While they have butterfly wings, they can't fly with them. At least not without a feat and 7 HD. They also have Prestidigitation as a spell-like to add to help aid them when pulling pranks. It's not hard to see why so many races don't really care for these guys.

This book is fairly extensive in what options it gives you. It's almost standard to have it added in nowadays, and these don't disappoint. They have their own bonus traits to choose from, alternate racial traits that you can swap out if you're not a fan of what's in the original write-up, favored class options, racial feats, clerical subdomains, new spells, base class archetypes, and prestige classes.

When you get this pdf, you're immediately introduced to the fact that these little guys love apples. Like, LOVE apples. If your GM allows flaws in their game, take Addicted: Apples. It's like showing a crackle something shiny and sparkly. It probably helps that the legend of their deity ate a golden apple and became a god. I'd probably be inclined to do the same thing. You never know. It also gives you full details on their society, religion, arts, courting rituals, what technology they might have access to, their hippy style love over war (never a bad thing), aging, their grand history, languages, deities, and economy, just to list a few things. There's even a way to implement them into your particular campaign, various locations that you can meet them, and even pre-written NPCs that you can introduce your party to. The guys at Jon Brazer Enterprises spared no detail in making sure you, the reader, are fully involved in their conception, and this race has been around for a very long time, and will not be going away any time soon. To everyone's delight, I'm sure.

Before I continue, I just want to say that I love, love, LOVE the Dappled Theurge prestige class. While it saddens me that it's so hard to gain access to, it's quite worth it. At least to me personally. It pays tribute to one of my all-time favorite arcane prestige classes from 3.5, the Ultimate Magus, from Complete Mage. This allows you to have both a prepared arcane caster and a spontaneous caster go up the same as the Mystic Theurge does for the arcane/divine casters.

The archetypes aren't half bad either. The sorcerer bloodline that you're given is one of the better ones that have been presented to us in both 3pp and official Paizo books. If you're anything other than the half-faerie dragon or a regular faerie dragon, you need this in order to gain access to the prestige class I mentioned above. Thankfully the bloodline itself is worth taking even if you're not taking it specifically for the Dappled Theurge.

The feats presented in the book compliment the race nicely, regardless of how you're building the character. There seems to be more options if you're playing the original race, and don't take alternate racial traits, but there's still something for every version of the race. It's nice to know that you're not penalized.

It's a little light on the equipment, but again there's still a little something for everyone. There's one particular weapon, the laughing blade, that I'm a little confused on. It's not explained why it's called that. Maybe because it counts as cold iron so you laugh at fey who think they're immune to it? Or maybe because it's a martial weapon to the half-faerie dragon, but an exotic weapon to everyone else? No idea. A little insight into this would have been nice. The magic items aren't half bad. I liked the descriptions of the artifacts that were presented. If the GM wanted, they could make entire campaigns around locating them, or protecting them from the outside world.

While there were a few snags here and there, overall, I was much more impressed by this product that I ever thought I'd be. This just goes to show that you can never truly judge a book by its cover. If you can use this in your campaign, whether current or future ones, I recommend getting this.


For such a silly race, there's surprising substance to them!

*****

There’s that one gamer at every table that seems to approach the game with the idea that irreverence is the soul of fun; that is, they draw joy from taking nothing seriously, regardless of the circumstances or consequences of doing so. The challenge for the GM, and often the other players, is usually to find a way to make that PC function within the boundaries of the game, where the player can be true to what they want, without being disruptive.

I mention this because Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Book of Heroic Races: Half-Faerie Dragons, seems to be aimed squarely at this middle route. Shockingly, it actually seems to manage to walk it. Let’s take a closer look.

The book comes with the requisite aspects of a PDF product, in that it has full nested bookmarks and copy-and-paste is enabled. More striking, however, is the book’s spartan visual presentation. Now, to be clear, there is artwork here, having several color and black-and-white pieces, usually set in the center of the page with the two columns of text flowing around them. The issue here is that that isn’t enough.

The nature of half-faerie dragons is that they’re Chaotic Outgoing, possessing a manic nature with a focus on pranks and illusions. It’s therefore something of an irony that, save for the aforementioned art, the book presents itself with stark austerity. There are no page borders here, nor are there any backgrounds; just black text on white pages. Normally I’m glad for printer-friendly materials in a PDF product, but here the contrast is sharp enough with the subject matter that I can’t help but find it somewhat ironic.

The heavy text itself has an off-putting effect, albeit a very slight one. While most of the pages have their visual design enhanced with bullet points, tables, sidebars, or the aforementioned art, you will run across the occasional page with densely-packed text and little else. It’s somewhat fitting that these sections tend to be the flavor text for half-faerie dragons, as it pretty well encapsulates the idea of them fluttering around you and chattering at you nonstop.

The book opens with roughly a page-and-a-quarter of framing fiction which very clearly encapsulates not only the mania but the magical nature that are archetypal among half-faerie dragons, after which we’re presented with their racial stats. I frowned just a little to see that they didn’t have the Advanced Race Guide-style racial point breakdown for their race’s abilities; this isn’t a big deal, but it references the ARG for one or two other things (such as alternate racial abilities, though it notes that are also found in the Advanced Player’s Guide), so their lack of inclusion is somewhat notable. Also, half-faerie dragons have the “draconic” subtype?

The book doesn’t dive into the crunch straight away, however, as we’re given several more pages of the flavor text, Core Rulebook-style, about things like half-faerie dragons appearance, alignment, why they advanture, etc. The surprising length of each section is characteristic of the book where non-mechanical aspects of the race are concerned, and is something I’m of two minds about. One the one hand, all too often we’re given a new race without any real idea of what makes them different – they’re given a few broad (and often predictable) strokes regarding the roles they fall into, and that’s that. Here, at least, the author is trying to give us more than just a few sweeping statements about half-faerie dragons; he’s clearly got a very specific idea in mind and wants to communicate that.

The drawback to this strong authorial voice is that, in addition to simply being daunting at times, it can also start to feel something like a straitjacket. The idea of half-faerie dragons as giddy magical pranksters is hammered home quite often throughout the book, to the point where you have a hard time seeing a half-faerie dragon character any other way. If a new race can be typecast right out of the gate, the half-faerie dragon surely has been.

I also can’t help but bring up the book’s stance that, yes while the occasional half-faerie dragon is the result of a faerie-dragon/humanoid pairing, most are born to existing half-faerie dragons. In other words, that there’s already a stable population of these half-breeds so that they now breed true. While not quite as disingenuous as Paizo’s “most half-dragons are the results of magical experiments, and not that dragons are kinky…honest,” it still smacks of a taking the easy way out regarding the thorny issue of half-faerie dragons being prevalent enough to get their own sourcebook to begin with. It’s not an issue of practicality, but it was still mildly irking regardless.

Beyond this, the book (quite wisely) switches back and forth between fluff and crunch as it progresses. We’re given a suite of half-faerie dragon-specific traits, alternate racial abilities, and favored class bonuses, after which is a large section on their psychology and lands, before dealing with their vital statistics tables (for which I give props for remembering an oft-forgotten part of including a new race). Following this are new archetypes and prestige classes, feats, and equipment.

The above new crunch is good, but nothing that sets a new standard, with one exception. Early in the book the flavor text tries to paint the picture that half-faerie dragons are drawn to arcane magic holistically, that they trend towards preparatory and spontaneous arcane spellcasting, rather than one or the other. If that seems odd, it struck me that way too, until I saw the new prestige class here: the dappled theurge. I was quite struck by this, because it’s essentially a mystic theurge prestige class for preparatory and spontaneous arcane spellcasters. On paper, this may sound like a silly idea, but it works…or at least, it works as well as the normal mystic theurge PrC does, which meanst hat, at the very least, it puts the idea of a multiclass preparatory/spontaneous character in the realm of something feasible – it’s something genuinely new, and given that it’s done by using such a small yet artful twist on an existing PrC, it’s truly notable for that.

Three new faerie dragon deities are presented, forming their own mini-pantheon for religiously-inclined half-faerie dragons. The deities themselves are presented in something of an abstract way, denoting their relationship to each other more than how they interact with mortals, though they do note how mortals tend to view them. I appreciate that these write-ups included subdomains and oracle mysteries, but it was slightly vexing that their holy symbols weren’t listed (nor, to be exceptionally picky, are inquisitions, a minor game mechanic introduced in Ultimate Magic for the inquisitor class).

Several new spells, magic items, and even artifacts follow, before the book takes a long look at several half-faerie dragon communities (no community stats given) and how to use the race in your game, finally closing out with three NPCs.

That’s the entire book in a nutshell. Overall, how much you take away from this is likely to depend strongly on to what degree the author’s intent for the race influences you. Without a doubt, there’s enough new mechanics here that you could do a great deal with half-faerie dragon PCs and NPCs for quite a while. It’s the flavor text, however, that will likely make or break your enthusiasm for what’s here – if you agree with and like the idea of this as a race of merry magic pranksters, but still want to really role-play them, then you’ll likely find this book to be made out of solid gold. On the other hand, if you find preconceived notions and attitudes for the race your playing to be obstacles more than springboards, then you’ll probably feel like you’re swimming upstream against the author’s writing.

Having said that, I do appreciate that having more to work with, even if you don’t agree with what’s here, is far better than lacking material to work with at all. When it comes to new races, less is not more. Given that, and that the other issues I had with the book were small omissions and stylistic disagreements, I can’t find any reason to give the Book of Heroic Races: Half-Faerie Dragons full marks. Five out of five fluttery butterfly wings.


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