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Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Elements (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Print Edition Unavailable
Add PDF $8.99
Misplaced emphasisGregg Helmberger —
I'm a huge fan of the "Blood of" books. "Angels" and "Fiends" set a very high bar, and "Blood of the Moon" introduced a whole new, fascinating race. I was looking forward to "Blood of the Elements" to give more crunch options to the elemental races, which are, as a whole, weak and so situational that it's hard to justify taking them for a whole campaign. Hy hope was that this book would give us some decent, crunchy ways to increase the versatility of these races so that a choice beyond sorcerer or cleric would make sense.
Unfortunately, we got none of that whatsoever. A large section of the book was given over to a discussion of each elemental plane, which simply doesn't belong in a Player Companion book at all. The character options that were presented were mostly traits, and while traits are nice they don't justify a race choice, and they don't redeem this book.
Overall, this book is both a great disappointment and a missed opportunity. There is too much material that belongs in a Campaign Setting book, too little that belongs in a Player Companion, and too little helpful crunch to improve a bunch of races that are interesting in concept but need mechanical help. Sadly, I can't recommend this book.
Book of the River Nations: Complete Player's Reference for Kingdom Building (PFRPG)Jon Brazer Enterprises
Our Price: $5.95Add to Cart
A terrific resource for players and GMs alikeGregg Helmberger —
More than any other Paizo AP (in fact, more than any other campaign I've run in 33 years of gaming), Kingmaker requires legwork for the GM and lots of it. Not only do you need to run the players through the adventure as presented, but if you want to get the most out of it you need to create scores, if not hundreds, of vibrant NPCs, give each PC their own plotlines to develop, and think several game-years (at least) into the future. The result can be an unparalleled immersive experience for everyone involved, but make no mistake, it takes a LOT of work to make it so. Therefore, anything that can make your life easier as a GM is something to buy, treasure, and recommend to others.
The first thing to take into consideration is the title. I think it's a bit unfortunate, since this is far from just a PLAYER'S reference; GMs will find much to love here.
I purchased the PDF version, so my comments are limited to that. Physically it's a nice book, with a lovely cover, good B&W illustrations throughout, clean text and presentation, and not a lot of page background to mess with readability or devour printer ink.
The first section deals with exploration and is essentially a restatement of the rules in Stolen Lands, with a couple of nice additions like a size-comparison chart showing how big a kingdom is with RL comparisons. It's fine, but nothing thrilling.
Next is city and kingdom improvements, which is where the book starts to shine. All Paizo's buildings are listed, but additions are made for cities (like Office of the City Guard and Witch's Hut), rural areas (like Apiary, Winery, and Royal Preserve), and even castles (ranging from a fancy art collection through a moat to an anti-scrying room). This is where the book starts to become indispensable, as much time, effort, and balancing will be saved by having these structures ready to hand, in addition to giving players more of the options they crave. A much-improved random events table is also included.
Next up is mass combat, and the additions here are very useful indeed, ranging from new army types (everything from various size militias through orc raids to everyone's favorite shambling undead cannibals) through new attributes (like bleed, crusader, and mercenary) and rules to generate the sort of humanoid hordes we all know and love. If you plan to feature a lot of mass combat, you NEED this.
A short section on new Feats follows, which gives both traditional (e.g. Armored Swimmer or Tumble Strike) as well as Kingdom (e.g. Aid Another Leader or Inspiring Ruler)and Mass Combat (e.g. Mass Combat Focus and Inspiring General) options. Again, for someone really wanting to get into the building rules that make this AP special, this is excellent stuff that you will make use of.
The next section is for new spells, and it's here that the only real problem I have with the book comes, in the form of the various "Summon Army" and "Summon Nature's Army" spells. They're only usable by mass combat units, but I still think the present serious balance issues. Still, YMMV, and I'm sure some GMs will find them perfect for their games.
A very interesting section, somewhat misnamed as "Secret societies and organizations," comes next. it has two 5-level prestige classes and a pair of new archetypes, all of which are good, useful, and interesting, but nothing in it can replace, say, the sort of thing found in the Faction Guide if players wish to found their own organizations.
Two pages of magic items are the last major section, and these are generally useful, especially the magical statues that grant kingdom bonuses when placed in Parks. More could have been done with kingdom stat-modifying items, but that's a quibble.
Rounding out the book are several pages of revised forms for kingdom tracking, which is fine, although I think the majority of GMs find that the kingdom must be tracked through computer spreadsheets. These forms are fine and you'll like them if they're the sorts of things you like.
Overall, this is a truly exemplary resource for players and GMs using the Kingdom Building subsystems in their games. It's not perfect, but it is clearly a 5-star product and an absolute steal at its price.
Better than it looksGregg Helmberger —
This was another piece that I didn't like the look of when I saw the picture, but was pleasantly surprised when I popped it out of the box. This seems to be the case for a lot of the minis in the set -- you need to hold them in your hand to really appreciate them.
The sculpt is pretty good, IMO. The size is right, the detail is good overall (especially the face, which is a weak point for the Battles line so far) and the pose is nicely balanced and dynamic. The weapon is a good size for the mini.
The paint job is where the mini stepped up its game. The pattern on the clothing are good, the sleeve garters are clear and smooth, and the overall detail is quite nice. It's not quite as flamboyant as Pathfinder gnomes ought to be, which keeps me from giving this piece the fifth star, but it's well executed for what it is.
Eh, it's pretty big, but they grow 'em bigger in New YorkGregg Helmberger —
Ok, look, let's just get this out of the way: this sculpt is too big by half. It's a medium-sized creature on a small base, and it detracts from the overall score considerably. That aside...
The sculpt is actually pretty good. It's detailed, the pose is excellent, and it looks evil and menacing. Just based on the quality of the sculpt and disregarding the size, I have nothing bad to say about it.
The paint job is decent, if a bit uninspiring. The browns on the body are nicely contrasted and the face is evocative, though I'm not sure it necessarily looks ratty. Overall I'd say the paint job is...competent? Sure, competent.
If only it had been properly sized, I'd have given it another star easily.
Stealth qualityGregg Helmberger —
I have to admit, when I first yanked this guy out of the box, I was a bit disappointed. Then he grew on me, like rot on a dead man.
The sculpt has a bunch of really good points and one glaring bad one. The detail of the sculpt is quiet and not readily apparent at a cursory glance, but when you take the time to look at it, it's really astounding they put this much effort into a simple, building-block sort of common. Massive kudos for that, because the equipment and the wounds really pop. The pose is good in a loose-limbed, rotting joint kind of way, and again works better once you consider it for a bit. On the other hand, it's so darned slight! It's hard to be intimidated when you're being attacked by a stringbean. A little more bulk would really have gone a long way.
The paint job is actually great. Again, I was so underwhelmed at first, but once I looked at the different hues on the skin, the head wound, the rope, the pants (all detail which doesn't show on the pics, I might add), I was knocked out by it. Good stuff!
Hungry like...well, like this miniGregg Helmberger —
It's good to have some ordinary animals in any set, and as the only one in this set, this is a damned good one.
The sculpt is, I think, terrific. The detail of the fur is remarkable, and the pose is really exciting -- this animal isn't posing, it's ATTACKING! The mouth detail is good, and the claws on the feet are nice and clear. It's a relatively simple sculpt, so there isn't much more to say beyond "good job!"
The paint job is what makes this really stand out for me. The fur is really a simple gradient, but it's really used to good effect. The red eyes are a bit goofy, but then I suppose a fiendish wolf might have red eyes, maybe. The mouth and claws are painted cleanly and clearly.
In looking at it, I'm not sure why this figure punches my buttons like it does, but man, I really like it.
A fine genericGregg Helmberger —
Every town watch needs steadfast sergeants, and this piece fills the bill nicely.
The sculpt is solid for the most part. The pose is energetic and interesting, and the face actually has some definition for once (maybe I just got a bad brick, because most of the faces on my guys are just awful). There's good detail in general, especially of the hands and the belt. I wish there were more detail on the back, because the piece couldn't be any duller from behind, but overall it's not bad.
The paint job is a little drab and uninspiring, but it's good enough that it makes the piece at least a little interesting in places. Again, there should be something on the cloak back to keep it from being a big blue blob, and the shield is distracting when left blank, but overall it's a good job for what must be one of the more common pieces in the set.
Blankface to the rescue!Gregg Helmberger —
You know, this set is generally excellent, but a lot of the faces need a lot of work.
The sculpt is the big culprit in taking this from five to four stars. The pose is good, evoking a night watchman cautiously investigating a dark alley, lantern in hand, and the detail is generally good on the clothing (though the cape back could use some work). However, the face is mostly just vague suggestions of things that might conceivably resemble a human being.
Seriously, Wizkids, why are the faces of the humans/demihumans in this set so bad? Even the best ones are merely uninspiring, while the worst ones look like they're being devoured by green slime. I know you can do better than that.
The paint job is OK in general. More should have been done to make the figure interesting to look at from behind, and even from the front there isn't a lot of differentiation in the clothing, but there's nothing really bad about it. The face is painted awfully, but really, with this cabbage-faced monstrosity, there was only so much the painter could have done.
For the next set...FIX THE FACES!!!
A mixed bagGregg Helmberger —
In most things there is good and bad, and this snake is no exception.
Let's do the good first: the sculpt is terrific. It's detailed, the pose is dynamic, and the mouth is threatening. At its base, this is set up to be an excellent figure.
The bad: the paint job is wacky. The red is much too bright and undifferentiated, making it look like you're being attacked by a Twizzler. The pattern on the back isn't consistent, making it look like random squiggles rather than a diamondback or whatever they were shooting for. Perhaps the worst thing is that the paint job makes it look cheap, which is something that none of the other figures I've picked up from the set (with the possible exception of the half-elf cleric) does.
Note to Paizo: make a Twizzler monster for the next bestiary.
Them bones gonna walk roundGregg Helmberger —
When I think about it (which I try no to do because it scares me), few monsters in fantasy are creepier than a skeleton. I mean, the thought of an old set of bones lurching upright, somehow staying in a coherent shape, and trying to kill me is unsettling. This mini is great nightmare fuel for people like me.
The sculpt is pretty good. The pose could have been more dynamic, but the detailing is really excellent. I mean, it's just bones, but a lot of effort and attention has gone into making this subtly spectacular. I wish it was in a more energetic pose, but for someone with no skin, he's doing all right for himself.
The paint job is where this mini really shines. Old bones coming out of the ground, or a swamp, or lying exposed to the air, are rarely white; these give a very convincing impression of rising out of some dirty place and seeking blood. The shading used is simple but extremely effective -- the skeleton is a simple monster and a simple paintjob is really a standout here. And the shield! I love the paint job on the shield!
Paizo and WizKids, thanks for this, and we can always use more base undead. Maybe a little more energetic ones...
Pathfinder Battles—Heroes & Monsters: Seelah, Human PaladinWizKids/NECA
Our Price: $6.00Add to Cart
Not in the face! Not in the face!Gregg Helmberger —
I wanted to like this piece, I really did. And I suppose I do, because there's a lot to like, from the neck down. Above that...well, read on.
In general I like the sculpt. The pose is strong and dynamic, the way she holds her shield out from her body is great, and there's excellent detail on the armor and other gear. The problem is head, and specifically the face. Maybe I just got a bad print, but there was virtually no facial detail at all -- a suggestion of a nose and that was pretty much it. Maybe it represents a doppleganger imitating Seelah?
The paint job was very good, again except for the noggin. The armor is subtle, the symbol of Iomedae on the shield is very well done, and the cape had a nice, subtle wash that made it pop. However, the face was once again nigh featureless; one eye was just a nearly-invisible black dot on the dark brown of her skin, and the other one was all white. Deeply disappointing, and easily the worst quality control I've seen on any of the minis so far.
Aw yeahGregg Helmberger —
Another great orc mini! This is the kind of piece that will fire the imaginations of grognards and newcomers alike, and exactly the sort of thing the game could use more of.
The sculpt is fantastic. It's another piece where the pose is taken right out of the bestiary, and it really shines. One of the most striking things for me is the variety of angles present -- the arm, the sword, and the cape are all at different angles from the body, which adds both visual interest and, I assume, complexity to the casting. The detail is great, with a very evocative face and especially interesting wristbands. The whole thing gives a real sense of dynamism and emotion.
The paint job is solid and competent, but unspectacular. Once more, the skin could have used some differentiation. There's less skin on display than with the Orc Brute, but still enough that a wash would have gone a long way toward making it even more stellar. The colors work well together and compliment the sculpt well.
WizKids and Paizo could definitely stand to give us more orcs. And hobgoblings. And bugbears. And gnolls...
Orc with an attitudeGregg Helmberger —
Everybody needs orc minis. It's an unalterable fact of life. And when orc minis are as good as this, that need can be filled with style.
The sculpt is exemplary. This is a big, burly, angry boy with lots of detail on both body and equipment. The face has lots of character, marking the figure out as a good leader or barbarian.
While the colors choices are good, what keeps me from giving this bad boy five stars is that the skin is so undifferentiated (a common failing among this set). When there's so much of one color in evidence, WizKids really needs to consider using a drybrush or wash to add some contrast. The problem here isn't as bad as it is on the ogre, for example, because the sheer area isn't as great, but it's bad enough that it detracts from the overall presentation of the piece. Hopefully future sets will correct this deficiency.
Overall, this is an very good piece, and a solid pickup whether bought as a single or a random.
Pathfinder ogres are creepyGregg Helmberger —
I like this piece a lot. It could have been a great piece with just a bit more work.
The sculpt is, I think very good. The proportions are odd and the face looks like someone beat up a head of cauliflower, but it's very evocative of the inbred creepy off-ness of Paizo ogres. The detail is very nice, whether one is looking at the body, the clothing, or the club. He's a big fellow, nearly hill-giant size, so he's impressive to see next to mediums. Overall I think it's an excellent sculpt that does what it's supposed to do: depict an enormous inbred misshapen cannibalistic hillbilly with a club.
The paint job is where it loses a star, however. I thought the detailing on the face and the equipment was very good and I have no complaints there. What does bother me is the lack of differentiation on the skin. There's a lot of monotone gray skin, and the figure really could have used highlights/a dark wash for the shadowed areas to break things up a bit and bring out details of the sculpt. As it is, it looks weird and kind of dull, which is just a shame on such a good sculpt.
Overall I like the figure a lot, and it can be made much better with a few minutes and a medium gray wash. Out of the box, it's a bit bland.
A whisper-thin mummyGregg Helmberger —
I hate to just echo another review, but pretty much what Scott Young said.
The sculpt is simply too darn skinny to be intimidating. It looks like a moderate breeze would bowl this poor guy right over. It's a shame too, because the detail level here is phenomenal. Yes it's all just bandages, but still, you almost have to see it to believe it. The pose is decent and gives the impression of shambling, which I guess is what you want in a mummy, but it's not all that dynamic.
The paint job is also excellent. There's a lot of variation in color among and between the wrappings, so it's easy to see the details. It's colored so as to be almost sepia toned with age, which is really creepy and effective.
Overall this would have been a much better piece if the embalmers had left some meat on this poor devil's bones.
An excellent mini with one small flawGregg Helmberger —
This was the first Large figure I got, and it was a very pleasant introduction to what WizKids is doing with the bigger figures of this line.
The sculpt is excellent. It's the pose right out of the bestiary, so it evokes a familiar gasp when you show it to players. It looks powerful and strong, creepy and just downright evil. The detail is excellent throughout, from the engraving of the axe to the fur to the dangly ring in the nose. Also, it's not clear from the pics, but there's actually blood running down the axe blade and dripping off the lower end, which is a fantastic touch. The issue I have is that it's a bit too small for a large creature, or at least smaller than I envision minotaurs. It's possible that this is due to it being hunched more than the actual size, but it still comes off a bit less overwhelming than it should.
The paint job is great. Just flat-out great. With so much of one kind of fur showing, it could have been a dull piece, but there's drybrush texture on the fur that makes it interesting to look at both close-up and at play distance on the table. The blood is convincingly painted on the axe-blade, and the nose ring is identifiably brass. I actually have absolutely no complaints, gripes, or even niggles about the paint job.
A note: the nose ring is a great touch, but it's very fragile, and half of it was broken off the nose when I unboxed it. A very easy fix, but something that will almost certainly recur with use.
In all, this piece is one of the stars of this set, and one that will see a lot of play as a minotaur or an evil outsider.
Not an ideal blind date, but a nice miniGregg Helmberger —
I'm sorry, but I can't resist: "Vatch as she takes ze pleasurez from ze ssserpent..." [/Blade Runner]
First off, the sculpt is tasty. She's poised and elegant, the snake is a fascinating addition, and the writhing mass of serpents on her head are intimidating and creepy. The level of detail is generally pretty good, though the face and the snake-hair could use a bit more detail. Overall the sculpt is pleasing.
The paint job is a little dull, and what keeps me from giving it 5 stars. There's an awful lot of undifferentiated white, which makes it look kind of like a blob of nothing when it's out on the table in play. The snakes are painted in such a way that it's difficult to tell where one ends and another begins. The best part is really the separate snake she's carrying, which is very well done and provides a good contrast for the other colors involved.
Not terrible, but no standoutGregg Helmberger —
Honestly, this one is an odd duck, and not all that interesting either to look at or to write about, but here goes.
The sculpt isn't stellar. The pose is static and dull, and the trident is held in a confusing way -- with two hands in spite of being a one-handed weapon, and the wrong way round to do any damage with it -- thus giving the whole thing an awkward cast. The level if detail in the cast is good, however, especially in the face, which has a nicely gaping maw.
The paint job is actually very good, with different greens used to good effect and the browns of the equipment providing nice contrast. The blue lips, however, are just odd and distracting -- my first impression when taking this out of the box was, "There's a blue-lipped weirdo who doesn't know how to handle his weapon."
Unfortunately, this is a very average figure, and unless you're a completist or find yourself in need of a lot of lizardmen, I'd give it a miss.
Big scary guyGregg Helmberger —
When I was perusing the preview pages, this was the piece that really stood out to me. The pictures made it look detailed, menacing, and convincing. Fortunately, it was in the very first box I opened when I finally bought some, and I have to say I was not disappointed.
First off, the sculpt is fantastic. The size pushes the upper end of medium but it's all in height, which makes it seem more intimidating. The overall sweep of the lines are also vertical, which makes it look even taller than it is. The detail of all the elements is good, from the robe's tattered edges to the face's malevolent glare to the eerie staff. I think my favorite element, though, is the clutching right hand -- that looks really, really creepy.
The coloring is very well done. With the predominance of black, dark brown, and white, something was needed to provide contrast, and the golden armor/epaulettes really succeeds here. The face is vivid and even the hands are well detailed. The robes themselves have a very nicely heavy gray drybrush that makes them look old and even more tattered.
In all, this is one fantastic lich, and if it weren't for the stunning ettin, this would be my favorite piece so far.
Of note, I happened to get duplicates of this piece, and on the second one, the staff was mismolded such that it ends shortly below the hand. Not a big deal -- it looks like a magic rod -- but it is worthy of mention.
Pretty darned impressiveGregg Helmberger —
The most striking thing for me with this piece is the 3-dimensionality of it. The angle of the arm and bow, and especially the arrow protruding from it, and the angle of the cloak billowing from behind, give it a lot of impact when held in the hand. It looks much more like the stance of an actual person carefully stalking a foe than someone posing with a bow, and that alone is enough to make me love it.
The rest of the sculpt is very good, by and large. There's very good detail and the body really gives an impression of lithe strength and speed. The armor, clothing, and accoutrements are very well done. As others have mentioned, the face is a tad flat, but it's got enough personality that it feels like an individual,
The coloring is fantastic. There are subtle shadows on the clothing, and there are many fussy bits and touches throughout that are executed very well.
When I'm DMing, I use minis I've painted exclusively for important NPCs, but this piece is good enough that I'd unhesitatingly make it a recurring NPC.
UninspiringGregg Helmberger —
When I looked at previews for this piece, I was pretty meh. I wasn't sure what it was just looking at the pictures, but it left me cold. Now that I have on, I know why: it's the face and the sword.
All my gripes come from the sculpt. The biggest problem for me is the sword: it's too darned short and stubby. I know the minis are meant to be usable in a non-Golarion setting, but it does have an Iomedan paint job, and so she really should be using a longsword. Her weapon looks more like a notched cinquedea, weighted at the hilt and balanced for stabbing, rather than a slashing weapon weighted toward the tip. It's a minor point, yes, but as a geek I reserve the right to take inordinate amounts of aggravation from minor points. The face is another point of contention for me -- even though I didn't care for the face in the pic, the face of the mini I got doesn't really look like that, and in fact looks misshapen. It could be a flaw in the particular molding I got, though. Otherwise the sculpt is OK, though now that I think about it, there's another irritation in that she's weighted defensively, on her rear foot, rather than aggressively thrusting her holy symbol out.
The colors are generally very good, with the Iomedan symbol coming across loud and clear and the armor being convincingly steely rather than just gray. The colors get a bit sloppy around the holy symbol in the hand, but that's a minor niggle.
The other reviewers seem to love this piece a lot, so I'm prepared to admit that the flaws I see are likely just my own personal quirks. Still, this was my least favorite of the pieces I've picked up so far.
Pathfinder Battles—Heroes & Monsters: Giant Caveweaver SpiderWizKids/NECA
Our Price: $25.00Add to Cart
Not just another spiderGregg Helmberger —
How many buyers of prepainted minis get geeked up at the thought of opening a box and seeing "yet another damned spider figure"? Well, with this one you should.
First off, this is a nice sculpt that manages to combine the relative delicacy of a spider with the monstrous bulk of a large creature in a more effective way that most spiders I've seen. The legs in general are very nicely formed, and the front pair is raised in a threatening and notably non-symmetrical fashion, such that a medium figure placed in front of it really gives you a sense of what your PCs are up against when fighting this beastie. The body is bulky, bulbous, and honestly squicky, and you can just imagine it full of eggs that it would love to lay on your fighter's paralyzed body. Ka-reepy.
The colors are spare but very effectively used. There's black and dark gray, and that's pretty much it -- except for the bold, blood-red markings on the body, which are both ominous and frightening, giving this equal use as a fantasy black widow equivalent or an arachnid evil outsider.
The takeaway message here is this: don't moan and groan when you open your box and see a spider. This one's unique.
It sneaks up on youGregg Helmberger —
My first impression when opening this one was neutral-to-negative. I liked the pose, but the paint job was underwhelming at initial glance. However, I looked at it more and changed my mind. Here's why:
The pose is interesting and open, looking like he's just landed and is coming after you. It's a nice change from how gargoyles are often portrayed -- scrunched up in a crouch -- so you can really see his height. Like most of the Battles like, there's good heft and weight to it; it feels solid and well made. The horns are long, evocative, and an excellent touch, and I liked the face a lot. The claws look like ripper-shredders, and can definitely give your players pause when looking at them (claws...pause (paws)...see what I did there? I'm sooooooooo clever! Oh wait, no I'm not).
The paint job has good and bad elements, I will admit. It lacks in "oomph," and can seem close to monotone when put on a table amid other minis. However, when viewed closely, there is considerable subtle variation -- it's when held up to the light that this piece really shines. And, after all, the gargoyle is a stealth ambusher, so it should look pretty much this way; a higher-contrast paint job would be out of place. In the end, I have to say I really appreciate the paint job here.
It should be pointed out that my rating for this figure comes from picking it up as a random; for that, it's a very good value. I wouldn't pay $12 for it, however. If I needed a gargoyle mini specifically, I'd go with the Reaper one Joe Kushner linked to in his review. The Battles one is better IMO, but it's not twice as good for a niche monster.
WowGregg Helmberger —
What's not to love about this one? When I picked up the box to open it, I immediately noticed it was considerably heavier than any of the larges I'd yet gotten. Could it be the ettin, I thought?
It could and it was. Be still my beating heart!
The first thing you'll notice is the sheer size of this freak. Not only does it push the boundaries of what a Large creature can be, but it's solid and weighty and just brings this sense of mass to it that many large figures don't manage. Place it next to a regular Medium and see what I mean -- it even towers over the Ogre, which is in itself an impressively big piece.
The casting is fantastic. The two heads have personality, the body is terrifically powerful and strong while still bringing a suggestive flabbiness, and the clubs are absolutely wicked-looking. The posture is very well done as well, with the slouch managing to imply a certain degeneracy as well as the tenseness before action.
The colors were well done. It's a hell of a lot of gray, but that adds to the impact of the piece rather than detracting from it -- it's a whole lot of ettin you're dealing with here. The loin cloth and clubs were both well done, though the necklace on the left head was a bit sloppy on the piece I had -- enough to notice, not enough to detract from the score.
The only knock I have against it is inevitable with a piece of this size -- there are some funny joins and awkward attempts to cover them. I'm honestly not sure what the weird double cross on the back is about, but if players ask I'll just tell them it's scar tissue. :-)
This one isn't just the star of the set, it's the supernova of the set. Get it while you can.
A fine wizardGregg Helmberger —
This piece struck me particularly with how much more I liked it once it was in my hand as compared to what I thought of the pictures (though that's a general comment for most of the Battles line I have). First off was the mass of it -- it has a nice heft to it for the size, and for those of you who care about the nonvisual aesthetics of a piece, that's a nice touch. The pose is dynamic and arresting, giving the impression of ongoing action and impetus. While the gray of the robe is a bit dull by itself, I thought the blending to purple at the bottom lent it a real dynamism, so the overall effect works really well. The hair is nice, and the ears, while large, make it easy to identify the piece as an elf. My only real knock against it -- and something I will repeat many times in my reviews of this line -- is that the face lacks detail and contrast; a little effort in this area would have made this a 5-star piece in my estimation. Still, you can't go wrong with this one.