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Advanced Races Compendium (PFRPG)

***** (based on 4 ratings)
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Sometimes, unlikely heroes emerge from strange and forbidden places: dragons’ dens, murky swamps, magical forges and the realms of Shadow.

The Advanced Races Compendium gives you everything you need to play a monstrous adventurer in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Its pages are packed with PC racial feats, traits, spells, bloodlines, gear, magic items, archetypes and more for Gearforged, Lizardfolk, Kobolds, Tiefling, Gnolls, Shadow Fey and more—and it’s easy to adjust these classic and new races to suit your campaign’s power level.

Play as your favorite monster and carve out a new legend in your campaign, with the Advanced Races Compendium! Get your dice out, and roll up a:

  • Gearforged
  • Lizardfolk
  • Kobold
  • Ravenfolk
  • Shadow Fey
  • Tiefling
  • Tosculi
  • Aasimar
  • Centaur
  • Darakhul
  • Derro
  • Dhampir
  • Dragonkin
  • Sahuagin
  • Drow
  • Lamia
  • Gnoll
  • Minotaur
  • Trollkin
  • Werelion
  • And More!

Get Advanced Races Compendium today and play a minotaur corsair smashing through foes, a sly kobold darting nimbly around and wreaking havoc, a gearforged warrior powered by steam and magic, and much more!

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Product Reviews (5)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 4 ratings)

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3pp Does it Best

****( )

This is how the Paizo "Races of" should be. Most of the races follow a template, but there's a little bit of difference to each one. A tantilizing bit of fluff and lots of great flavourful crunch. Each race gets items and class variations that are thematic and useful. There's a race for every situation and environment.

Sadly, some of the fluff write-ups are confusing and prior knowledge of Kobold's campaign setting is needed to make sense of them; this is especially true of the Shadow Fae and the Darakhul. There are whole campaign settings that focus on these guys and their origins and empires, but as this is a player's book, I felt this could be improved on.

A lot of work went into balancing the races of this book. Some have feats to advance them, like the tosculi who can become more and more agile in the air and wasp-like. The best example of this is the werelion, who has several balance options. Very well done.

I also really appreciated the new, more balanced option the gearforged present for replacing the warforged. The ravenfolk/tengu take on a very neat alternate flavour, instead of being Asian, they are Norse and are one of my favorites. Their creation story is really fitting with Norse mythology.

The only other downside to this book is that many of the variant classes have to do with the Advanced Classes book. I'm not a fan of that one. Surprisingly, there is one psychic class as well!

Hoping for more of these in the future, especially fan-favorites like grippli and the Asian-inspired wayang and monkey people and changelings. You can cherry pick the races that appeal to you as individual PDFs, but really, the whole thing is great.


An Endzeitgeist.com article


This massive book clocks in at 338 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC, 1.5 pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a colossal328.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Wait a second, though - A quick glance at the list of developers for this book will show you that I worked on this. I am writing this article since I was explicitly asked to by my readers. That being said, considering the sheer size of this book and my own involvement, I will not provide a point by point analysis of the content and also will refrain from adding a final rating to this book. Got that? Great!

So, before we dive in, let's just say that the Advanced Races-series, from which this book was collated, basically was hit and miss for me in its original iteration. If you take a look at my reviews for the series, you'll be able to easily ascertain that. Basically, in some instances a complete rewrite was all one could do. Guess what? This book provides just that.

But before we take a look at this aspect: This is not simply a collection of old material; quite the contrary: In 21 massive chapters, a lot of races are covered. Aasimar, Tieflings, Centaurs, Darakhul, Derro, Dragonkin, Gearforged, Gnoll, Kobold, Lamia, Lizardfolk, Ravenfolk, Shadow Fey, Tiefling, Tosculi and Were-lions are back, obviously - but we also get whole chapters on Dhampirs, Drow, Jinnborn (see Southlands), Minotaurs, Sahuagin and Trollkin.

So the scope of this book, in itself, exceeds the sum of its constituent parts by quite a lot. However, the book does several things right - almost radically so. One crucial issue pertaining races, ultimately, is the power-level of the races. Core races are weaker than the planetouched and then there are races even beyond that...so how to balance them? High-powered groups want high-powered races, gritty rounds prefer more down to earth solutions. Well, this pdf actually provides something so simple it honestly should become the standard: Scaling advice for the races. While not all races feature advice like this, most do -and personally, I consider this a glorious solution to the table discrepancy issue regarding racial power.

Now the book's massive array of races is impressive, sure, but how is the coverage? Well, as a basic idea, each racial chapter consists of approximately 1/4 fluff, including age, height and weight tables and notes on interaction with other races, while also offering a significant array of cultural information, which, more often than not, adds some very unique twist on the concepts. Aasimar, as depicted herein, hearken in flavor to the larger-than-life nephilim, with powerful passions defining them and their very nature feeling less like a celestial crossbreed and more like a race of powerful paragons - and before you ask: There is a bunch of new material herein for each race, with ~3/4 of an entry being devoted to racial crunch that ranges from traits to feats and archetypes, with a wide variety of unique alternate racial traits. Aasimar, btw., would be a good example for the great work of my fellow developers on this book - I had no hand whatsoever in this chapter and it came out vastly improved, eliminating the power-creep spell of the original installment, as just one example, and replacing it with evocative, unique spells.

Most of the races now also sport a racial combat style feat-tree, allowing for unique styles, with e.g. Ravenkin building upon the racial trait ironclaw or dragonkin gaining swift-action control over their scales, allowing them to harden them temporarily...and enhance their own resistances, of course! An occult ritual for draconic ascension can be found here as well. Drow are aligned with the themes of sin herein and the book offers a massive array of sin domains and feats for them - oh, and, of course, Midgardiana is included in the otherwise easy to adapt fluff, so even if you do not play in Midgard, this book has ample of material waiting for you.

Now personally, I'm exceedingly grateful for the chance to work on the gearforged - easily, flavor-wise, my favorite construct-race for PFRPG, ever since the 3.X days of old, they have been a staple in my games...though I did redesign them to be less powerful: The massive construct immunity array did not fit the campaign I ran back then. That being said, my players took to them like a fish to water and they've been tested and expanded further - thus, the scaling mechanism this race now has is something I am rather proud of: You can still make the classic, full construct gearforged. Less high-powered groups have an alternative with the gearborn, basically a lower-powered iteration of the race, which, flavor-wise, represents a less costly partial transformation. Now here's the catch, though: Via traits, feats and archetypes and the like, you can slowly transition from a gearborn to a full-blown gearforged in-game! The mechanics are simple and facilitate roleplaying such characters even in groups that would otherwise flat-out ban gearforged at low levels. (Heck, I actually used that angle in my own games and I certainly hope that those drawn to the grittier aspects of Midgard will enjoy it and the questions of identity, soul, etc. it can deliver to the table!)

I'm rambling. Werelions now also have a much smoother iteration - while the 1-level racial paragon-insert is certainly an option, growing into power via FCO-options and the like similarly makes the race now much smoother and, once again, allows for table variation -choose the system that works best for you and run with it. Flavor-wise, Raging Swan Press "Sunken Pyramid"'s unique sahuagin culture penned by Marc Radle has found its way into this book as well, sporting the unique poetry of the race, the Cal'mecac. Tieflings, to provide another example that is pretty near and dear to many a reader out there, now feature the previously somewhat problematic random features as codified alternate racial traits.

I should also mention explicitly that the above races--list is nowhere near complete: Backers have commissioned extra information on kitsune, ratfolk, suli and weresharks - these, however, are found in the appendix, with the respective write-ups being more crunch-centric: While age, height and weight tables and the like are all here, including FCOs, alternate racial traits and archetypes, the respective races here in no way approach the level of detail featured for the main chapters. But then again, there are some true GEMS to be found here: There would be, for example, the Spectral Shepherd spiritualist, whose phantom takes the form of a chittering swarm of ghostly rodents! And yes, the playing experience is glorious, the fluff awesome and with feats like Plague Carrier, I felt reminded of the Skaven...and that's a damn good thing! Weresharks build upon the systems established for werelions to reach their full potential...these entries may be briefer than the big ones...but they sure are evocative and awesome.

I glossed over one crucial component of this book - it may sport a couple of minor glitches (to be expected from a tome of this size), but it provides true inspiration for the respective races, adding often downright evocative pieces of information to them, sometimes blending the crunch with fluff in intriguing manners: Dhampirs acting basically as leeches to treat poisons and diseases? Now I can see that act as a great narrative device beyond its immediate use. This book is chock-full with such tidbits and even if you only use a fraction of the material, there is a LOT to scavenge. Want to play a kobold who can tumble over traps sans setting them off? One feat.

Did you know about the duality of proud individualism and shared culture among minotaurs and the dread, original deity, primordial "The Hunger", lurking and waiting to once again plunge them into barbarism? About their freebooters? The delirium bloodline offered for them as a gift by the Moon? The minotaur-only spell that transforms you into a more powerful albino for its duration? I could write 10+ pages of these and still would not have exhausted, by a long shot, what's in this book.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - while there are some formal hiccups here and there, that's to be expected from this dense a crunch-book. More important would be that the crunch, even in the rare cases where it is not perfect, is functional and diverse - the aforementioned archetype for the ratfolk? Just one example for the cool ideas herein. Layout is GORGEOUS - two-column, full-color and studded with artworks of a rare beauty. In short, this is one of the most beautiful books you can find for PFRPG. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, with nested bookmarks and all.

Unfortunately, I can't comment on the print version, since I do not own it, but if Southlands is any indication, it should be one impressive tome.

Alexander Augunas, Wolfgang Baur, Thomas Benton, Matt Blackie, Savannah Broadway, Clay Clouser, David "Zeb" Cook, Dan Dillon, Mike Franke, Jim Groves, Brandon Hodge, Chris Harris, Steven T. Helt, Victoria Jaczko, Jenny Jarzabski, Amanda Hamon Kunz, Jeff Lee, john Ling Jr., Stephen Radney-McFarland, Karen McDonald, Ben McFarland, Nicholas Milasich, Carlos Ovalle, Holly Owalle, marc Radle, Wade Rockett, Stephen Rowe, Adam Roy, Jason Sonia, Owen K.C. Stephens, Brian Suskind, Morgan Boehringer, Adam Daigle, James Jacobs, Chrsitina Stiles, R. William Thompson, Mike Welham.

Take a good look at this list. You'll find legendary Paizonians and significant players in the 3pp-circuit here and the book, as a whole, does show the work of these fine folks. My fellow developers Alistair Rigg, Amanda Hamon Kunz and Ben McFarland, under the watchful eye of Steven T. Helt, have done a great job and lead editor Scott Gable with further support by Wolfgang Baur, Eytan Berstein, Annte Cranton, Chris Harris, BJ Hensley, Miranda Horner and Kim Mohan, did polish this book further.

If anything, this book is testament to the importance of both good editors and developers, the unsung heroes of the RPG-industry: The refinement in direct comparison to the previously released books is staggering in scope and bespeaks the work-ethics and will to improve and streamline what's not yet stellar exhibited by Kobold Press here. The fruits of all their labors are here to be enjoyed - ripe and shiny.

In short, this is perhaps the most evocative big race book you can currently buy in the 3pp-market. The book sports a vast plethora of unique and cool takes on classic "uncommon" races, with ample truly novel, never before properly covered races. More importantly, this book's array of races allows you, should you choose to, say goodbye to the traditional Tolkien races - the diversity herein provides the means to generate fantasy that may be beholden to the classic tropes, but without being enslaved by them. The achievement of this book does not only lie in its crunch, though it certainly has improved significantly: To me, it lies in the mythological resonance it invokes, in the unique feeling the races have - if you utilize the options herein, no one will mistake your darakhul for just another undead race, your gearforged for a paltry standard construct, your dragonkin for another draconic-men-race. The rules enhance the respective cultural identities crafted for the races within these pages, rendering the totality of content greater than the sum of its parts. Want to play a campaign of minotaur corsairs battling draconic empires, while lamia and tosculi lurk on the mainlands? An Espionage war between ravenfolk, drow and shadow fey? This book has you covered. The racial identities provide what they should: Inspiration.

Suffice to say, this ranks as one of the best racial books I have had the pleasure of reading. It may not be pure perfection, but it is the most inspiring racial book I have read in quite a while, a factor that is ultimately the most important component for me.

Thank you for reading this. If you do have this book, drop me a line and tell me what you enjoyed most about it, will you?

Endzeitgeist out.


Advanced Races Compendium - Corerue's Corner

*****

Note: Did not back the Kickstarter and I really wish I had!

I ordered the PDF/Hardcover Bundle and was impressed when the book showed up in a very nicely packaged way, a medium box, with packing peanuts and styrofoam on each corner. The book was absolutely mint! A big plus!

Among the Designers present in the creation of this Compendium is Wolfgang Baur and Owen K.C. Stephens which is just to name a few of the many wonderful and talented people who made this project a reality.

Advanced Race Compendium by Kobold Press comes in at 338 pages: Over 320 pages of content aside from indexes, ToC and three pages of ads in the back.

This primarily supports the Midgard world setting; however, it is an excellent resource to have as it gives alternative races that are setup to be player/DM friendly due to lacking that annoying Level Adjustment! A major plus! It should be noted that despite this being a part of the Midgard setting, it could easily be adapted for others world settings such as Pathfinder, 5e and such with very minimal work.

Now onto the good stuff, this book is rich with resource material for additional races, so much so that I doubt I can fit it all in a single review alone. I will say that if you buy this in PDF you will not be disappointed! It was well worth the expense and I forked out the additional cost for the hardcover copy because the artwork in this compendium is pure awesome and not disappointing in the least. There is no repeat art and all of it is richly detailed.

Race Sections: In this section is included an explanation of what each race's adventurers are like, cultural differences throughout areas of Midgard, differences in racial Variants, Campaign Traits, Archetypes, Feats, spells and Artifacts specific to their race. This is present with each race some gaining more in each section or less. Either way it adds a lot of great flavor to a character of a specific race. Races included within are -

Aasimar, the children of the celestial host come in with a whopping 12 pages of content! It starts with a page of splendid artwork. Then it goes into the next page, which provides details about Aasimar's and their role as the Blood of the Celestial Host expanding on the different alignments of Aasimar’s you can encounter throughout the world of Midgard. It includes content for their existence in the Southlands, The Northlands, Crossroads, Perunalia and a large section on the City of Lions, Shuppurak.

Racial stats for provided Aasimar, along with additional variants (replacing the daylight spell with a different affect only) that are very interesting, which gives us more options to the aasimars appearance and abilities aside from the ones from Paizo. There is a section for Ages, Height, Weight and Aging Effects section. There are four new Campaign traits specific to Aasimar's only. There is also a large section for new Class Archetypes. Celestial Rhymer (Bard) Celestial Summoner (Summoner), Fallen Angel (Antipaladin) and the Grey Angel (Inquisitor).

Toward the end their are six new feats, 7 Mythic Feats, two new Subdomains: Angel (Good) and Radiance (Glory) followed by nine new spells and a single Aasimar artifact that has its own, very fitting, artwork. Perfect for any Demon or dragonslaying campaign.

Centaurs, a personal favorite so here goes! Twelve pages of content starting first with a page of artwork followed on the next page by a detailed explanation of the differences between these centaurs and the more powerful version in the Pathfinder Adventure setting. The stronger version is referred to as Bataar, the leaders and nobles of the Hordes (That is what these centaurs call their clans). The Centaurs detailed within are 1st level character ready and well balanced to provide a fun roleplay experience without level adjustments. It goes into details on their Lives, Customs and Social Organization, which details a common tradition of the Hordes. Party of the explanation of their society is a section detailing their relationship with Non-Centaurs, the Raiding habits and Bandit years of Centaurs. Like the Aasimar and every race to come, there is a rich amount of information, useful for any setting.

There are two additional Centaur variants one being the Alseid a fey like and long-lived centaur. The other, the Oinotaur, are a smaller much more sage like Centaur race that doesn't have any particular affiliation within the hordes. These variants are very interesting and provide a new dynamic that can be incorporated into any adventure. Different stats and abilities are provided for all three Centaur types as well, especially if the party was made up completely of centaurs. This section is accompanied with an Ages, Aging Effect and Height/Weight Section for each of the three Centaur types.

They provide 11 campaign traits, three archetypes. Green Witch (Witch), Oyun Wrestler (Fighter) and the Redegiver (Oracle). There are four new pieces of centaur equipment and three centaur specific magic items that many would find very interesting and helpful. There are seven new feats and finally four new spells.

Darakhul, Lords of the Undead! Masters of the Empire of Ghouls and subterranean lords of the lightless depths. A race of intelligent undead that view the living as cattle, live by their own unique politics and run underground cities and subterranean places far away from the light. A true horror of the deep. Never resting, never tiring and full of Archetypes, campaign traits and much much more!

The other races are as followed!
Derro, Dhampir, Dragonkin, Drow, Gearforged, Gnoll, Jinnborn, Kobold, Lamia, Lizardfolk, Minotaur, Ravenfolk, Sahuagin, Shadow Fey, Tiefling, Tosculi (Hive Mind Moth/Ant like race, renegades exist but they clock in at about 3ft avg height.), Trollkin and Werelion's!

Appendix includes:
Kitsune, Ratfolk, Sulis and Weresharks, These entries are shorter but no less entertaining and interesting.

I will run out of room long before I could break down each and every race, so I will cut to the chase below!

There are some minor grammatical errors and misplaced information like Centaur weight in the place of Random Height Modifiers and vice versa. However, aside from that, I found few major errors and was very pleased with the standard two-column layout, the content kept me wanting to read more as I moved from one race to the next.

Therefore, I rate this 4.9 but round it up to a five star, as it is an outstanding and thoroughly well crafted source book. Each race is well balanced and without level adjustment making integration of these races very easy.

This is a must have for any would be monster race playing party or Monster Adventure crafting Dm!

Also My hat is off to Kobold Press and its designers! Yet again, they have released something both inspiring and downright awesome.


Fantastic

*****

I was part of the Kickstarter for this, and it was worth every penny I paid. There is a lot of info for development of established races, along with some great additions, my favorite being the Dragon Kin. Lots of individualized feats and archetypes for every race. The new races are well balanced with options for GM's to re-balance if they want. For the Buyers information, there are references to other Kobold Press books like Deep Magic and New Paths Compendium. These are not necessary to own to use the book, but it does expand some options for those books.


A Very Flavorful Book For Playing Alternative Races

*****

Note: I backed the Kickstarter campaign for this book. As such, I not only paid for this product myself, but got it before it was released to the public. XD Hence this review being up before preorders here on Paizo.com.

The Advanced Races Compendium offers details on playing 21 non-Core races, plus additional details on four more (chosen by the backers). Attempting to review each race in detail would bloat this review to hideous length, so instead, I'm just going to cover what you're generally going to find.

Each race is given an introduction, explaining what their culture is like and how their society as a whole behaves. While this is generally tilted towards the Midgard Campaign Setting (which this is technically a book for), it's not hard to adapt most of the details to other worlds - and let's face it, if you're using this book in the first place, you're playing at a table that's open to somewhat more... unique... characters. XD

Following these writeups are the more mechanically useful parts - Traits, Feats, Spells, Equipment, and Magic Items all themed around the race and something they might plausibly have. Many races also have archetypes and other unique options. This is NOT the book you're using if you're about pure, 100% mechanical perfection on your character sheet. It is, however, an excellent tome for people who want to have powers and abilities that truly support their choice of race.

It's also a neat way for GMs to work in thematically-nice things. For example, a Wizard might find some scrolls of racial spells they could add to their spellbook, or racial equipment might be given as a reward early in the campaign. As a fan of well-roleplayed characters, these sorts of things are immensely appealing to me.

The full-color, full-page artwork opening each chapter doesn't hurt, either...

While this isn't a book that every table will want to use, it IS a valuable tome for anyone who plans to play any of the races included. Overall, it's an excellent addition to Kobold Press' line of supplements, and I expect I'll be making use of it in the very near future.

(Especially for Lamia. I always did want to play one of those, and failing that, I'll be using this book to make an NPC...)


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2. Advanced Races 14: Lizardfolk (PFRPG) PDF
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