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Really 4 1/2 stars, but I believe in rounding up instead of down!


The Shifter--oh what a pot-stirring that class has created! I like it. Is it perfect? No, but it is more or less what I thought it would be and I like it. It has a Beorn-like feel to it, for me rather than a Master of Forms. Being perhaps the first shifter in true fantasy adventure (from Tolkien), I think being Beorn-ish is what the Shifter should be. Thank you, Paizo! Is it going to replace the rather over powered Druid? Uh, no. If you like the Druid, stick with the Druid. I like the Shifter, thank you. With a total of 12 pages devoted to this, it is ridiculous to base a review entirely on this part of the book.
Plenty of fun wilderness-ish archetypes--my favorite being the Star Watcher (Investigator), whose alchemy is altered by creating starcharts for extracts and reading them to activate as well as starknife goodness!
I love the Hazards section. I grin at the thought of using those when I GM. The Wilderness Exploration rules are intriguing and useful, but the main reason for purchase? That might be for the 100+ possible animal companions and familiars! Fantastic!

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Loved it!


Plenty of goodies for bards--and that is my admitted bias--including an archetype reminiscent of the Arcane Archer but with a style all its own. There is also a Masterpiece than partially satisfies the frustrating lack of Spell Kenning for Bards.
Force Sword may be the spell you were looking for if you did not want to spend money on the ghost touch property. I love it--and because of the above mentioned Masterpiece, Bards can use it!
That's not even the tip of the ice berg. If you are fan of the arcane, you should have plenty of reasons to pick this up.
If you're looking for anything Occult, this isn't the place--Arcane Anthology is very aptly named.

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Best of the Tales, IMO!


A family experiences two tragedies (loss of their father/husband and exiled from homeland) only to rise above them all as settlers of a wilderness that refuses to be tamed. Loved this book. If any of you are western fans, this book felt like a pioneer story for the fantasy setting--a rather refreshing and unusual approach in an RPG world.
Very importantly, it is very family friendly in content. I would let any of my 5 sons read it (even my 6 year old, if he could read well enough!).

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Better than expected!

****( )

I would give it 4 and a half, but cannot.
This is set up like the Artifacts & Legends book, yet not much in this book would break your campaign. Some of the stories behind these items make for very compelling reading (Like the Fiendsplitter).
Some of my favorites include the Pale Maiden, Mistcaller and the Stories of Shazzarazed (or however that was spelled!). Very fun and useful book.

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Well written, however...

***( )( )

the society as a whole in this story is extremely degenerate. The depraved behavior of characters in this novel really alienated me. I did not finish reading it because I was uncomfortable in doing so.
I am one who does not enjoy R-rated movies, so that may further your understanding of this review.
Love the whole idea of shadowcasters and find Nidal an interesting foe, however, I could not stomach what was going on in this novel.