Pathfinder Player Companion: Heroes of the Darklands (PFRPG)

****( ) (based on 4 ratings)
Pathfinder Player Companion: Heroes of the Darklands (PFRPG)
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Plumbing the Depths

From the impossible depths of the earth crawl horrible foes, but bold heroes rise to face them. Join these champions' ranks with Pathfinder Player Companion: Heroes of the Darklands. This chronicle of Golarion's underground realms prepares characters for their descent into the endless night, exploring the distinct regions of the Darklands and offering an array of new character options, including archetypes, feats, magic items, spells, and more. The Darklands may be deadly, but they're not a death sentence for those who are prepared. Make Heroes of the Darklands your guide to surviving the depths.

Inside this book you'll find:

  • New class archetypes, including the stonesinger bard; the spore-laden fungal pilgrim druid; and the blightburner kineticist, who can harness the power of radiation.
  • A host of new alchemical items both beneficial and destructive, as well as magic items that can help explorers survive the dangers of the Darklands.
  • Dozens of new spells, traits, and items suited to exploring the Darklands or created by those who dwell there.

This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-936-3

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

Product Availability

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Non-Mint: Unavailable This product is non-mint. Refunds are not available for non-mint products. The standard version of this product can be found here.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

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****( ) (based on 4 ratings)

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Enough good stuff to be worth it.

*****

It's always better to focus on the best parts of a book rather than what doesn't work well. The best parts are what will get used, after all! This book has enough fun stuff for a five-star rating in my book, although four stars would also be fair.

Fungal Pilgrim what pushed this from four to five stars for me, and I'll admit to some personal bias. First time I've seen a Wild Shape trade that I'd solidly consider. You could get a template on your summons, but modifying your animal companion is the really cool option. Lassie gets to host a brain fungus. At first, it trades movement and dexterity for strength, constitution, a ton of immunities, darkvision, and more natural armor. At tenth level, it now provides you with an unlimited supply of free scaling-DC poison (weak effect, but easy to hide in food and the like), and at fourteenth, it gets a fun poison AoE. As a capstone, it can make make temporary fungal zombie slaves out of weak enemies. Getting the immunities of plant type for yourself is gravy. I know that one review has limited influence, but I'd love to see more creepy fungal stuff!

Blightseeker Alchemist is a great archetype that gets debuffing bombs that stack with bomb modifying discoveries. This is nice design-wise, because it allows for much more flexible and enjoyable battlefield control and debuff builds. It's also a very stackable archetype, so you can mix and match!

Demon-Sworn Witch archetype is an evil-powers-for-(optionally)-good-or-neutral-ends deal, which we really haven't seen much of. Your soul may be toast after you die, but it's not going to screw with your alignment in the meantime to be using shady powers you don't understand. Throwing on some nontlethal damage to ALL hexes is a cool design touch to push towards the darker hexes, but it's low enough that you can still buff or heal allies if you need. Evil-but-subservient familiar that can be (expensively) raised with its internal spellbook intact is also a really nice perk. While it's not one I have a personal interest in, archetypes where you can immediately think of at least two players who'd love them are well worth mentioning.

Beastkin Berserker is a nice complement to Mooncursed Barbarian. It gives you a range of forms rather than focusing on just one, and focuses on the animal form rather than providing a hybrid form. While they each have pros and cons, between the two, players now have better choices.

Psychic Marauder is the last of my stand-out archetypes, and probably ranked second for me. Catches charisma-based up with wisdom-based when it comes to saves, and generates an aura of confusion that isn't always on (if anybody like Psychedelia, but didn't want to be responsible for a bunch of peasant deaths everywhere they go). While there's a non-lawful requirement, the penalties for becoming lawful aren't overly steep, and you can continue using taking levels in the archetype.

Speaking of psychics, Animus Mine is an amazingly fun spell. Booby-trap your own mind. Somebody tries to mess with it, and the mine goes off in their face. (Well, slightly behind their face.) The upgraded version can even protect you from whatever they were trying to do.

There are some good mundane items (like blasting jelly), a fun magical item to bend oozes to your will, and some traits that DO something rather than give numeric skill or caster level bonuses. Additionally, I've skipped over some archetypes for classes I'm not big on, so there may be more options that are worth five stars in your view!

(Grumpy rant time. The book has enough good stuff for five stars, and stuff that didn't live up to my personal expectations formed from half a sentence in the product description shouldn't take away from that.)

Since reviews are looked at for future work, I want to mention the Blightburner archetype for kineticist. I love the class, love the idea of element-specific archetypes, and I want to see more of both! I'm only including this bit because I'd love more kineticist material. But the archetypes should pay more attention to what's fun in the class and what it needs to keep to make it good.

Earth's kinetic defense is really cool for shrugging off damage, and pretty much the only reason I consider it over the more utility-focused elements like aether, water, and air. The archetype trades that away for a completely burn-dependent trivial retaliation damage setup. At minimum to seem about fair, that damage would need to be as high as the DR I just lost.

Kineticist also needs accuracy boosters for physical attacks and damage boosters for elemental attacks. The size bonuses to stats help with this, and also (equally importantly) offset some of the burn taken by boosting constitution. The class is pretty tightly balanced, and has few ways to use items to improve itself. The archetype trades those size bonuses out to provide scaling that its kinetic defense probably should have included by default.

Finally, make useful, fun trades. If I'm a radiation kineticist, I want to be able to shoot people with radiation! Apart from the aura mentioned above, the archetype allows me to… touch somebody for one nonlethal damage per minute as long as I keep touching them? Everything else requires radioactive materials to be present, which is at MOST 5% of the time in the <1% of campaigns that have it at all. And the net effect is that I can save burn by hanging out in radioactive areas, and spend burn so that I can hang out in radioactive areas. Super-specific abilities should also include general applications.


Mostly good stuff. Some worthless options.

****( )


Psychics get some love!

*****

Lots of stuff in this Companion, both mechanical (which is normal) and story (which is a bit more unusual). Of particular interest are the new psychic tricks, notably the Animus Mine (trouble with mind-readers and enchanters? No more) and the Psychic Marauder archetype, first psychic archetype since the class was released.

Of course, plenty of other things, including the Demonsworn Witch (have a demonic pact without being evil) and the Beastkin Barbarian (turn into a Triceratops!). Good stuff all around.


*( )( )( )( )

As someone who does not subscribe to the PC line, as I do not play in person and thus have no use for physical softcover books in my cramped living space, I find this to be another disappointment in a long string of them.

The product page discussion hyped this book, and I bought it under those pretenses. I thought that the Vermin Rider would be useable, oe that the Darklantern wouldn't be absolute garbage which can leave you a drooling vegetable with Self-Inflicted Wis damage as a class feature.

I don't know why I thought that. Vigilante is such a horribly supported class - pretty much all of its archetyped are absolutely awful and its class featured are horribly situational. The Darklantern only compounds that.

The Vermin Rider is just plain awful unless you are a small creature and have the luxury of weighing ~22lbs. None, and I mean none of the allowed Vermin are strong enough to be used as a medium creature mount unless you are basically basically just boned but somehow have strength in the late teens to early 20s. Not even after their 4th level adjustment are they rideable.

It does nothing to adress this, or the fact that Vermin companions are absolutely awful since they have garbage stats on top of the fact that they get no skills, and no feats. You're basically forced to play Human (for Eye for Talent in order to make them useable). Don't pick this arçhetype. Play a Hunter instead where you basically have the same BAB when flanking and 6th level spellcasting.

I am not even going to go into how awful the Kineticist is (you are forced to take the WORST Elemental Defense, for starters) as it is basically a known fact that the Kineticist's first party support is plain awful. This does nothing to impress.

The Beastkin Berserker sounds good on paper, but don't be fooled. If you actually look at the Beastiary your options are basically Dinosaurs. You have only as much time in beast form as rage rounds, and the non-dinosaur options suggested by the fluff are awful. You're basically forced to pick the "best" form 2-3 levels before you can actually use it. What? You care about flavor, or you wanted a full BAB class to have meaningful utility? Too bad, because the archetype "doesn't trade much" for what it gets.

Save your money. Don't buy this disappointing Player's Companion, and maybe next year we will get some content that is better designed.


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Paizo Employee Community & Digital Content Director

Announced for April! Cover image and description are not final.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Huh, was expecting this to be more for Heroes from the Darklands, like Blood of Shadows plus Heroes of the Wild, but I think I like this take on it more. More like the XSlayer Handbooks. Should be some really fresh content.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I was just wondering when we'd get the next batch of product listings! :D

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Awesome! ^_^


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Xethik, I don't see how one interpretation precludes the other, as long as you realize there are only 32 pages to work with. I hope that we get some neat player options for Darkland races (Svirfneblins is so much fun to say out loud) on top of things for surface races to use when they delve into the Darklands.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

YES!!!!!!!!!! Character suggestions for adventuring in the Darklands?! FANTASTIC!

Is it April yet?!

Paizo sure does a good job of scheming to get my $$$$!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I demand good aligned drow ranger archetype! ;)

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I wonder wether this carries more meaning than is revealed here currently^^


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Hayato Ken wrote:
I wonder wether this carries more meaning than is revealed here currently^^

I wouldn't read too much into it. Heroes of the Wild didn't carry any hidden meaning, after all.


Cool! Sold!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

This is only mildly interesting for me.


Will this book support rules for Chaotic Good dual-scimitar wielding Drow rangers with white tiger familiars? :)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Axial wrote:
Will this book support rules for Chaotic Good dual-scimitar wielding Drow rangers with white tiger familiars? :)

*I think you mean Black Panther companion.*


This is quite interesting to me.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
zergtitan wrote:
Axial wrote:
Will this book support rules for Chaotic Good dual-scimitar wielding Drow rangers with white tiger familiars? :)
*I think you mean Black Panther companion.*

I think you mean Black Panther companion figurine. (Yes, it's a 3.5 feat, but it still exists.)

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I hope there is a lot of kineticist options. Lots of potential with underground oceans, suns, jungles, being inside the a planet, darkness and strange creatures and plants adapted to no light....


I hope they have ways for a CN drow noble wizard to get stuff.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is in conjunction with part 4 or 5 of Ironfang Invasion which will take place in an abandoned dwarven sky-citadel.

Anything Darklands-related is an instant buy for me.

I hope it has lots of options for darklands and surface races!


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:

This is in conjunction with part 4 or 5 of Ironfang Invasion which will take place in an abandoned dwarven sky-citadel.

Anything Darklands-related is an instant buy for me.

I hope it has lots of options for darklands and surface races!

Seriously?! Nice. The Ironfang AP just keeps getting better...

Looking forward to seeing these options. There were some really good ones in Blood of Shadows for those who were not necessarily wayangs and drow, but mostly focused on those two races. It is good, but I want to see what is in this.


This does look like it is going to be a good product.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:
Hayato Ken wrote:
I wonder wether this carries more meaning than is revealed here currently^^
I wouldn't read too much into it. Heroes of the Wild didn't carry any hidden meaning, after all.

That was mainly a humorous reference to the discussion wether Second Darkness or Legacy of Fire will be the next hardover^^

Heroes of the Wild has a good chance to be very useful in Ironfang Invasion though i think.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

A Nightcrawler fetchling magus archetype, please?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

And more stuff for Caligni !


Marco Massoudi wrote:

This is in conjunction with part 4 or 5 of Ironfang Invasion which will take place in an abandoned dwarven sky-citadel.

Anything Darklands-related is an instant buy for me.

I hope it has lots of options for darklands and surface races!

Interesting! I still hope there's something for my drow noble wizard then...


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

cool, Drow-Lini, Setyiel, Amiri and who's that last one?


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Can it be a lone Drow who as not seen through whatever disguise spell theiconics have up?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

*scratches head*

I want to say Valeros since they're dual wielding and wearing a breastplate but the weapon doesn't look like his.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Alright! Long overdue.


It kinda looks like Sajan's sword. I can't see the other hand, but if that drow is dual-wielding, it could also be Zadim.

Edit: It looks like a new pic of the iconics used in the Second Darkness AP, so: Sajan, Lini, Setyiel, and Amiri.

Edit 2: And since Paizo likes to use art twice when they can, is this an early hint that the Second Darkness AP is next to get a hardcover makeover?

Edit 3: Nope to #2. This art originally appeared in Second Darkness #4: Endless Night, pg. 6 (took a bit to dig out my print copies).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

So where is the cover art from?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Hunt, the PugWumpus wrote:

It kinda looks like Sajan's sword. I can't see the other hand, but if that drow is dual-wielding, it could also be Zadim.

Edit: It looks like a new pic of the iconics used in the Second Darkness AP, so: Sajan, Lini, Setyiel, and Amiri.

Edit 2: And since Paizo likes to use art twice when they can, is this an early hint that the Second Darkness AP is next to get a hardcover makeover?

Ah yes, when looking at the full size image it does look like Sajan's swords. Which would make sense since he was one of the Iconics for Second Darkness.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
So where is the cover art from?

Page 6 of Endless Night, the fourth part of Second Darkness.


I still doubt we'll be getting Second Darkness AP Hardcover until probably 2020. If that.


Is there going to be any lore in this book or is it all crunch?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Now that is how I wish Drow looked in Pathfinder.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
Now that is how I wish Drow looked in Pathfinder.

... uh, that is how they look in Pathfinder.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

No, their art has them dark blue with no pupils and iris most of the time.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
No, their art has them dark blue with no pupils and iris most of the time.

Actually they vary from dark blue to light blue to purple and grey in artwork, usually. And this artwork doesn't have pupils or irises either.

Edit: Some examples from Monster Codex.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I still like this skin color over blue or purple.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
I still like this skin color over blue or purple.

I like the blue/purple. Much more exotic look, IMO.

Really looking forward to this product.


Blue and purple beats out black and blue. I think. I have really seen many fights with people healing from bruising.

In any case! Drow wizard might be done. Still want this in case that is...not the case!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
nighttree wrote:
And more stuff for Caligni !

I hope so! That would be an instant buy for me. Caligni need a proper race entry with FCBs and a height/weight table.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

....Ya....I'm more interested in the Darkfolk and Caligni than anything.....


Frankly, I'll take any kind of info on the darkland races, but I'm especially interested in seeing stuff on Svirfneblin.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

This might have stuff for darkland races but doesn't sound like a race focused book, but a region focused book with player options related to that.


It looks like this is going to have to be bought as well! :)


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
It looks like this is going to have to be bought as well! :)

There is a reason I have been a subscriber to the Player Companion for over a year...it has consistently been focused on things that intrigue me! Favorite Paizo product line by far!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Still on the fence about this one, can't wait for the final product description so I can make up my mind.

Dark Archive

We should get a description update between today and march 10th.

Who are the contributors?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Heroes of the darklands, can't many of them...unless they are evil;)

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