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Pathfinder Player Companion: Quests & Campaigns (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
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Feels like a long teaser for Ultimate CampaignDoug Maynard —
I like a lot of what is in this book, but in the end, it feels like a sneak peak into what you would get if you purchased Ultimate Campaign (which I don't have). This is the first time that I felt that one Pathfinder product was written primarily to sell another particular Pathfinder product and in that respect I was disappointed.
While it has successfully gotten me excited about the larger book, I feel that Quests and Campaigns is hit or miss and doesn't stand up well on its own. I like the story feats (which takes up 10 pages) and the drawbacks, which are like the flaws from the 3.5 book Unearthed Arcana but set at the trait level (i.e., take a drawback and you can pick a 3rd trait). But some of the book is ho hum (4 more pages of traits - don't we have enough already?) and other parts are not going to make total sense to those who don't have the book, especially the feats and the 2-page-long spell ceremony.
If you're a GM, this is going to be insufficient unless you also have Ultimate Campaign. If you're a player, much of the book is going to be useless, unless you are playing in a game where you know your GM is using some of the optional rule systems (many of which do sound interesting) in the book. And while it's probably not a surprise to anyone, it's worth pointing out that very little of this book is legal for Pathfinder Society play. In sum, Quests & Campaigns by itself is limited in its usefulness for a large chunk of the Pathfinder player base.
Useful for many classes, but not necessarily all good charactersDoug Maynard —
Champions of Purity will be useful for some good characters, and I think this depends less on the character’s class and more on the character concept. If you are creating a character that is built around his or her goodness – call it good with a capital “G” – I think there’s a fair amount of useful material here, no matter what class your character is. If not, you will probably pass over most of the character options for ones in other sources that provide more mechanical benefit or highlight other aspects of the character’s personality, talents, and backstory. There’s also a fair amount of space devoted to collecting information found in other sourcebooks (e.g., good-aligned deities, races, organizations, homelands, nonlethal weapons, spells with the good descriptor).
I am giving it 4 stars because if you are picking this up specifically to help you build characters which are "actively" rather than "passively" good, I think it works well.
See my full review at my blog Delver's Diary here.
A bit too one-dimensional and tediousDoug Maynard —
I've read all the Pathfinder Tales novels up to and including Called to Darkness, and I'm sorry to say that this was the only one I seriously considered giving up on less than half-way through.
Both the protagonist Kagur and the plot seemed to lack depth. The frost giant's violent act in the first chapter (which is mentioned on the back cover, so it's not a spoiler) sets the scene for the revenge theme that comes to dominate the entire book. The root cause of his actions was never uncovered (there's a clear surface answer but this was not satisfactory for me).
Ultimately, perhaps the biggest problem is that I couldn't identify with Kagur - while she's both strong and honorable, she's not interesting, and it took some willpower to finish a nearly 400 page novel focused on her. The book did pick up toward the climax at the end, and for that, I reluctantly give it three stars.
Pathfinder Player Companion: Dungeoneer's Handbook (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
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Lots of options, and a good readDoug Maynard —
This is one of those books that may influence how you play your character in a particular situation (in a dungeon, obviously) as much as provide character building options (feats, archetypes). I enjoyed reading it, which is not always true of books with lots of useful options. I also liked the new rules for dungeon guides and torchbearer hirelings.
You can read a more extensive review on my blog Delver's Diary, where I also consider the book from the perspective of Pathfinder Society play.
Short and SweetDoug Maynard —
I've enjoyed everything I've read so far of Count Jeggare's exploits as a Pathfinder, and this was no exception. It's one of the shorter pieces of short fiction I've read, but satisfying nonetheless. Gross does a great job with Jeggare, portraying his aristocratic worldview in a way that seems realistic yet sympathetic.
Even though this story takes place before all of the other Pathfinder Tales involving the count to date, because of its brevity, I would suggest not reading it first and instead read a longer piece which more fully introduces the character (perhaps Prince of Wolves), then come back and enjoy!
Simply Spells: Cleric Domain Spell Cards (PFRPG) PDFBlue Banzai Publications
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Would be 5 stars, but for printing issueDoug Maynard —
These cards are well-designed and easy to read, using the same format in the books. There are 9 spells per page, in a 3x3 layout.
For spells with longer descriptions, there are PDF pages for the backs of these. The problem is that while the front and back pages line up well vertically, they are off by several mm left-to-right, which means you will run into overlap problems when you cut out the cards. I haven't figured out a way to fix this, and it somewhat defeats the purpose of creating a nice, neat set of cards for your game.
I don't know whether this problem exists for the other sets, or just this one.
Note that if you're playing an oracle, the few oracle-only spells are included here, a nice touch.