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Overpraised Yet Underwhelming - But Worth the PricePorphyrogenitus —
I was tempted to give this a lower rating than I did, just to counter what I see as overenthusiasm. In the end I gave it three stars, which is what I consider fair.
First, I understand why people rate this highly. There are significant flaws to the Mythic Ruleset as released. This addresses many of those.
However, in my opinion many of the fixes use a cudgel, where a scalpel would have done. Mind, some are worthwhile, but in my opinion the blunt-instrument approach was inferior to other, more comprehensive-yet-scalpel-like modifications, such as can be found for free in this post:
Still, before you jump down my throat for giving this product a mediocre review:
This product *is* worth the price, given that.
Therefore, I do recommend it. However, I hope that if at some point mythic rules are revisited (doubtful, I know) in an official way, this is not the model followed in addressing the flaws in the Mythic Rules. Something along the lines of
Very GoodPorphyrogenitus —
Well worth the price. While not every NPC opponent should follow the Path of the Villain, your campaign's recurring NPCs will be greatly enhanced by this. It will ensure they are challenges for the PCs. It will make then surprising, versatile, durable, and flavorful. People often pooh-pooh flavor compared to crunch, considering anything flavorful by definition empty. But (a) it is flavor that makes something memorable and distinct and (b) this volume gives flavor that also contribute's to the NPC's capabilities. It is flavor *with* crunch - bite, even.
This route is, IMO, the way to go in preference of many of the kludges in "Mythic Solutions," which to my mind was too much of a blunt instrument.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Races (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Add PDF $31.99
Inferior to i.e. Humans of GolarionPorphyrogenitus —
and thus not worth buying. If you want the crunch, you can find it for free on PF crunch websites.
In other respects, all the changed in descriptive flavor (the things upon which role-playing is based) are actually steps backwards from previous products, such as Humans of Golarion.
Which is to say: this product is actually counter-productive. It actively makes the game worse. It indeed contributes to lack of RPing in the hobby, because the focus of the changes became what was fashionable in the current year. But nobody really needs a guide that caters to their own ideology; people who are going to play their own opinions out rather than immerse themselves in a fantasy mindeset can do it without a guide.
They will probably still buy it for confirming their views. I do concede there is some entertainment value in that sense. But for people interested in RPing in a fantasy sense, you are much, much better off simply buying the earlier race guides, which are still available, and giving this one a pass.
Pathfinder Player Companion: Humans of Golarion (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Add PDF $7.99
Print Edition Unavailable
Vastly Superior to i.e. Inner Sea RacesPorphyrogenitus —
Evaluating is based on comparison. Now that Inner Sea Race Guide is out, in retrospect this is a much better product than people gave it credit for.
If you want crunch, it's true this is not the sourcebook to find it in. There is some, but not as much.
But as far as role-playing - and not being completely slanted like Inner Sea Race Guide - this is far superior to more recent products.
Buy this one, not those. Unless you're only into doing what's fashionable in the current year. In which case, you won't need to buy anything - you're just going to RP your own ideology anyhow.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Campaign (OGL)Paizo Inc.
Add Hardcover $44.99
Add PDF $9.99
Bordering on SuperbPorphyrogenitus —
A very useful book for broadening campaigns. People, whether DMs or players, who are looking for dungeonearing or adventuring tips should look elsewhere - there are other products for that. This one is aimed at bringing life to other aspects of the campaign, and it does that very well.
In my experience, even experienced gamers often neglect many aspects of their character's background, so while the first section is not exactly pathbreaking (get it? <---Plinkett voice), it's still a broadly useful gathering of background considerations. Especially if one remembers that the "random tables" do not need to be used randomly.
The "campaign system" section allows for (perhaps overgenerous) retraining of virtually all aspects of a character, which can be useful given that new products can often make a player want to go in a different direction than they originally did, but without wanting to throw out the character (personality & all - a character is moer than just their feat, skill, or even class level choices). If this section has one obvious weakness, it's in its treatment of alignment. I won't go into quibbles over its *descriptions* of the various alignments, but rather the potential perverse result of the new mechanic: as a *mechanic* (setting aside the admonishment not to let players "game" it), it allows characters who are designed to be "purer" examples of whichever alignment they choose to be more morally flexible without suffering immediate negative consequences, but characters who are, by design, intended to be "border-cases," or "shades of grey" characters must, under this mechanic, behave strictly in accordance with their alignment without deviation, because even a "small" deviation will precipitate an alignment change, and such characters can suffer the disadvantage of frequent penalization as they cross and recross the border area. Whether one likes this aspect probably depends upon the sort of campaign one wants to experience, but it's worth noting that this cuts out a fair amount of common character types (so common that the old "Great Wheel" had "planes" for all these "border-case" alignments, not just for the "pure" examples). As a mechanic I think this is strictly inferior the old system of DM judgement adjudicating when someone has strayed far enough that they have changed alignment.
The downtime system provides decent mechanics for developing a character's non-adventuring interests, home & organization building. At first reading it seems fairly balanced between allowing characters to build "strongholds" and income-generating organizations & enterprises *without* generating so much income that adventuring becomes superfluous. If it has a drawback, it is potentially too complex for many people to want to manage. I can imagine a KoDT-type situation where players get both embroiled in and confused by their character's downtime activities.
However, both the downtime system and the next section, the kingdom rules, have among the best understandings of fantasy-economics found in games, including a structure of production and comprehension of the heterogeneous nature of capital goods, and as long as players are having fun - however they are having it (even if "downtime" becomes a focus of the campaign), IMO it's RPing. It's just worth noting that the rules for these activities are complex enough that I can imagine them consuming a lot of campaign time; but this "drawback" is limited by the fact that players only have to engage in them as much or as little as they want to; - the downtime rules are scalable and modular so it does not have to turn into a complex business-management endeavor unless PCs want to get involved in that.
The kingdom building rules (and mass combat rules) are "just" a tweeked version of the same rules that appeared in the Kingmaker AP, but with the helpful admonishment that the DM can intervene to prevent players from exploiting the system by making unrealistic settlements filled with magic shops or graveyards (this tip would also apply to any exploits of the downtime rules that players will surely find). I'm all for people using rules intelligently to get the most from them, but "within reason."
Criticisms aside, this is a well-conceived product, and any of the flaws consist of mechanics that can be easily tweeked or safely ignored without throwing out the whole.