The book of forbidden magic promises a system that grants more powerful magic, but at a cost.
It introduces a new kind of spell called forbidden spells which are supposed to be more powerful than normal spells, but comes at a cost in the form of profane points and sometimes other drawbacks called out in the spell descriptions. When you cast a forbidden spell you accumulate profane points and risk causing a calamity. The more profane points you gather, the bigger the chance of a calamity and the more severe the calamity becomes.
Calamities range from anything from getting physical deformities, to insanity or summoning fiends and even opening portals to hostile and evil planes.
I found this system to be flavorful and on paper seems both balanced and fun to use. But the big problem I found with this book was the spells. Most of the spells seems fine and balanced at a glance, but that's before you look at the drawbacks. Not only do you get profane points for casting them, risking calamity each time you cast a forbidden spell, most of the spells also has another drawback like including you in their area of effect or bouncing back on you if the target makes his save. I think those drawbacks are horrible enough to justify the spells lower levels, and if not you could just increase the level of the spell or add some other drawback like expensive material components. These options are also touched upon in a sidebar, but still doesn't justify some of the harsh drawbacks already inherent in the spell descriptions.
The spells, for the most part, are cool and I can see the terrified look on my player's faces if a bad guy casts one of these spells on them. I just don't think it's necessary to have both the drawbacks of the spells and the risk of calamity when you cast them, one or the other would balance them just fine in my opinion.
Also I have to add that the Armageddon spell seems really underpowered for a 9th level spell, sure it does 15d6 points of damage per round, but if you have to move it you have to spend a full-round action, and most of the damage is fire damage which is easily negated at higher levels. I also think that most of these spells should have the evil descriptor considering their profane nature.
All in all I will surely find a use for these spells in my Campaign as I think they would make a nice addition to my villains repertoire. I just don't think most of the spells are powerful enough to justify the chance for calamity.
This super cheap pdf fixes one of my biggest gripes with the Pathfinder skill system. The craft skill as written in the Core rules are clunky, arbitrary and frankly makes no sense at all. This short pdf fixes all that. It contains a simple and elegant system which fixes most of the problems with the old crafting system. I recommend this pdf to anyone who wants the craft skill to make sense in their own Campaigns.
When I first read the Player's guide for the Jade regent adventure path I immediately fell in love with the caravan rules provided there. The idea of developing and running your own caravan was original and a welcome diversion from the usual dungeon crawl, hack and slash kind of game-play which dominates most Campaigns.
When I first read about this product at the Paizo forums, I was thrilled. While the rules in the player's guide was more than enough to let you get started, there was to many more things to be explored in A caravan based game. I am not to familiar with LPJ design, as I usually don't use to much 3rd party material in my games, but this PDF seemed to fill a niche that no other product has done yet so I gave it a shot. I was not disappointed, this PDF has so many fun ideas and is a perfect companion to the rules written in the Jade regent player's guide. I could run entire Caravan based Campaigns with these rules.
The PDf has 18 pages. The cover depicts a group of Persian looking nomads with camels resting on a beach. The artwork is decent enough, but does not perhaps evoke the feel of a caravan as there is no wagons and little cargo to speak of. The first page has the OGL and LPJ contact information. The next three pages describes the new wagon types.
All the wagons have interesting and useful rules and allows you to create caravans with specific themes like a slave caravan or a performing caravan by focusing on or combining certain wagons.
The next two pages discuss new types of Caravan based equipment. here you find anything from caravan balloons used to lighten the load of wagons to new caravan weapons like the super heavy ballista or repeating crossbow turret. All of the new equipment looks useful and interesting.
Next up are the new caravan feats, there are 19 new feats to customize and enhance your caravan.
There is also a sidebar about including rules for slavery in your Campaign. The feats do everything from giving you bonuses to your caravans income to increasing it's defense or allowing you to have monsters fighting for your caravan. I didn't find any feat here that i thought was overpowered or boring.
The next part gives a short description on how caravans worked in the real world and a few plot hooks to get your caravan campaign going.
Next is a description of various new threats your caravan might face like avalanches, rampaging dragons and a necromantic horde.
The PDF rounds out with a few sample caravans.
The layout is Ok and it's not very hard to navigate the document. Some sort of index would have been useful, but the PDF is short enough that this isn't really a big issue. There is little artwork apart from the cover, and a few pictures of the new wagons and equipment would have been nice, but at this price it's not very important. All in all I think this product is great, and if you, like me, love the Caravan rules from the Jade regent player's guide, this product is a MUST HAVE.
I would vote 4.5 but given the price I will increase my vote to 5 stars. Good work LPJ
As a shameless Lovecraft fanboy this module really appealed to me. The premise of an "Innsmouth" analogy in Golarion was seamlessly brought to life in this adventure which presents Lovecraft's story "The Innsmouth" horror through a Golarion lens and tying it to the ancient Azlanti culture of which there has been very little information so far.
There are some intriguing Npc's, bizarre events and strange locations awaiting discovery for those who dare explore this adventure. If you are as fond of isolated horror, inbred fish-men and strange and ancient cultures as I am, then this adventure will be perfect for you.
As a side note, the art and maps in this adventure are great especially the portraits of the various npc's the pc's might encounter.