Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Book of the Damned (PFRPG)

***½( ) (based on 13 ratings)
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Book of the Damned (PFRPG)

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Abandon All Hope!

As long as mortals have feared what awaits them after death, the threat of damnation has loomed. Powerful fiendish lords rule the deepest, darkest reaches of the Great Beyond: archdevils, demon lords, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and more. Such is the power of their evil that even angels cannot resist it—when one servant of Heaven cataloged all the evil in existence in the Book of the Damned, Heaven's judges doomed him to exile, appalled at what he had wrought. And now you hold those horrors in your hands!

Pathfinder RPG Book of the Damned explores the evil planes and their fiendish rulers as they exist in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. This imaginative tabletop game builds upon more than 10 years of system development and an open playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into a new era.

Pathfinder RPG Book of the Damned includes:

  • Descriptions for dozens of archdevils, demon lords, Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and other fiendish divinities, including the foul boons they grant to their most devoted followers.
  • Explorations of otherworldly fiendish realms, including the infernal reaches of Hell, the death-haunted expanses of Abaddon, and the nightmare depths of the Abyss.
  • Several brand-new monsters to fill out the ranks of all 11 of the fiendish races, from sinister classics such as demons and devils to new favorites like asuras and sahkils.
  • New blasphemous rituals, magic items, powerful artifacts, and spells to arm your villains with or for heroes to discover and defy.
  • Three fiend-focused prestige classes, ready to vex and terrify adventurers who dare stand against their plots.
  • An extensive collection of in-world excerpts from the sinister pages of the Book of the Damned itself.
  • ... and much, much more!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-970-7

Content Advisory
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Book of the Damned deals with many dark and intense concepts. The topic of demons and devils is not for everyone, nor is exploration of the themes these fiends embody and the practices they demand of their worshipers. You should make sure that your game group is comfortable with the contents of this book before using them in play—if even one player is uncomfortable with including some of the concepts in here, you should set those portions of the book (or the entire book) aside and focus on other plots for your game. Buyers should beware that the content of this book is not appropriate for all ages, and parents especially are encouraged to review the book before buying it.

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Product Reviews (13)
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Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 13 ratings)

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Reprints and Bad Artwork

*( )( )( )( )

The best thing about the new Book of the Damned that can truly be said to be original to it, is the completed list of obediences. The rest of the material consists of reprints from the prior Books of the Damned, or retcons to that material that create new problems. As seems to be the usual case, the demons and the devils take the lion's share of the material, while the daemons, despite theoretically being among the Big Three of the fiendish races, are left to language in comparative obscurity; minor demon lords receive longer write-ups than in prior books, and Asmodeus' Queens of the Night get full write-ups for the first time, but among the deamons the Horsemen and the Horsemen alone receive any attention.

Perhaps the worst thing about the book however, is the artwork. While there are a few good, new pieces, usually marking the spaces between sections, most of the individual portraits of the archfiends are reprints from prior books or stunningly ugly (or in the case of the archdevil portraits from Bestiary 6, both).

I loved the prior Books of the Damned and wanted to like this book. In the end though, what little new material there cannot compensate for the book's faults, and the bad quality art makes it actively cringe-inducing to look on. Save yourself the money and buy something else.

A Compelling Compilation of Corruption

****( )

As many other reviewers have said, this book is largely reprinted material from the "Book of the Damned" line of Campaign Setting books that came out a while back. As someone who has, and loves all of those three books, I have to say...

This book is great. I was a fan of the concept of the Book of the Damned, and it being compiled together like this fills me with dark joy. It does what it says as well, and the staff were up front about the reprinted material, so I enjoy it for what it is, which is a gathering up of their fiend-related material from the earlier books and some other far-flung sources, such as the devil contract mechanics from the Hell's Rebels adventure path and the more in-depth description of the Book of the Damned itself from Hell Unleashed. Having all of these things together in one place is handy, though it does appear some subjects, such as the demonic grafts, didn't make it into this book. Regardless, it's good for that reason alone.
Thankfully that isn't the only reason this book is good. It also expands on the fiendish boon system introduced in Lords of Chaos, handing out boons to the diabolical and daemonic demigods, and introduces, at least in passing, many of the more obscure evil entities in the setting. More interestingly to me, it does so in such a way that gives ample seeds and ideas on how to stat such demigods up, should we be so inclined. That coupled with more concrete rules on the various evil rituals also teased at in the earlier books and a mini-bestiary in the back help round out the book nicely.

This book isn't perfect, however. While it may not be of much concern to someone being exposed to this material for the first time, I personally found some of the changes and minor tweeks to the existing material a bit jarring. The diabolist prestige class was a notable example, with its new alignment restrictions and curtailing of spellcasting levels feeling more like a hurried effort to make it fit the formula of the other two fiend-inspired prestige classes than any effort to help modernize it. For one thing, I think that this means that the diabolist is no longer available for PFS play, for those who participate in that. Likewise, I would have liked to see a bit more space devoted to some fiends other than the three big 'D's. Some new fiendish archetypes would have been fun as well, and the missed opportunity bums me out just slightly.

Over all, this book is a pretty solid four stars. The reprinted material is very helpful for first-timers who haven't gotten the three previous Campaign Setting books, though I don't think I could recommend the hardcopy version to someone who already has them. It's got lots of info on evil deities and rituals, a few nifty items, a few new foes, and enough flavor to keep readers entertained through it's two-hundred ot pages. What it doesn't have is a ridiculous amount of new material, or a ton, or really any, PC-friendly options outside of a very evil campaign. But then again, it'd be a poor look out if a curse'd tome of vile lore helped look out for the good guys.

Good deal for lovers of demons, daemons, and devils.

****( )

It's nice to have the fiendish planes fleshed out in one handy book, and (if you're grabbing the PDF) for less than the cost of the much smaller source material books. There are a bunch of cool new things you can do, like become a true werewolf or a worm that walks!

The reason it's not five stars is because it's very heavily weighted towards (in order) demons, devils, and daemons. If you're interested in other fiends, there's not a lot of mechanics that work with them, and where they're specific, they're purposefully weaker.

"Remember kids, there's nothing EVIL about reading!!" - MermaidMan


A great book for evil, even if it's not your thing.

Not as valuable if you already own the original three soft covers but still worth the price.

What is Says on the Tin

****( )

First and foremost, if you have the three prior Pathfinder Campaign Setting volumes of the Book of the Damned, there is indeed a lot of reprinted material here.

With that said, there's enough new content that I find some of the griping in other reviews a bit shortsighted.

Especially since, given the subject matter, it stood to reason that we'd see some reprints- although in many cases, the old data has been expanded upon greatly. The book also collects a few odds and ends from relatively far-flung sources into a single volume, which satisfies.

The art is Not The Same As When Another Artist Did It. Personally, I think it works just fine. Several of the pieces in this book are among the best I've seen in a Pathfinder product- the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse get a pretty metal chapter-opening splash page, for example.

Mechanically, it gives me more or less what I wanted, although I could have done with a little more detail on the lesser fiendish demigods... but then again, I could always do with more detail on less-significant deities in the setting, so...

Solid, very solid. The Queens of the Night (formerly the "Whore Queens") in particular get a nifty treatment, including fully fleshed-out backstories, the Qlippoth seem even scarier than they were before, and Kyton Demagogues let you get your Clive Barker on with a vengeance.

4 stars instead of 5 because:
- Good as the material is, a great deal of it is, after all, reprinted.
- Several of the fiendish demigod sections feel a bit rushed in detail- overall they satisfy, but there are places here and there where you can feel the deadline looming over the writing staff.

But it's a damn fine book, and I heartily recommend it.

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