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Lovingly illustrated and well written but of limited utilityQbalrog —
I'm going to go against the trend on the ratings for this and say, while it is beautifully illustrated (some of the best for PF) and the writing is solid, from a purely utilitarian point of view, this is going to be of limited value to most GMs.
It is fun to read and by all means get it if you enjoy learning more about Golarion. It will also be of use if you have players who really dig into world lore and setting, beyond in-session time. (If you do, I am very jealous of you.)
But if you run APs or even run your own adventures in Golarion (I do both), it will be of some use but honestly, not that much. I have found myself wanting a calendar of religious events at times, which this does provide, and I love it when a published book makes me look at something a different way, which this hasn't yet but maybe it will in time.
However, as a smattering of things from a huge world, it isn't really going to help me unless I was running a homebrew setting that covered a lot of geography, like perhaps something set on a flying ship or castle. And even then, it would still really only matter if the players cared more about the setting details than min usually do.
Well executed and I can see why Paizo gave it the greenlight but as a GM, not really that much that I will make much use of. I ref more than play but don't see that much for the player either.
Solid product which is as useful for the sample characters as for the guideQbalrog —
If you all you want is a monk guide there are a few comparable ones available on the web for free, although it is also nice to have other opinions on the value of feats and the like.
Where I really find value are the 5th, 10th, and 15th level character samples. They are very useful as both NPCs for my game as well as samples of how to build monks. That alone makes the low purchase price quite valuable.
Would be great to see more of these guides just for the NPCs and I would encourage legendary games to gather these NPCs into one book and publish them as a pdf and on the popular VTT sites.
We had fun with it but has some structural problemsQbalrog —
My group happened to be in the area and at the right level, plus seemed open for a session more heavy on smoozing so we gave this a try.
Overall, the players seemed to have a good time and I had fun with the concept and settings. I found the color info and the main NPCs fun.
It does seem to me that the challenge rating adjustments for level 7-8 are wrong (they are the same as for the level 5-6), but it didn't matter at our level and it is easy enough to adjust if it did (we aren't doing PFS formal play.)
The players seemed to like the influence system (we have used it before but though they are quite experienced it hasn't clicked with them all that well).
The main issue I have with this, and one that would give me heartburn as ref if I was doing this formally for PSG is that my players did a fine job with the NPCs, developed perfectly reasonable suspicions and based on those suspicions avoided the final encounter. Personally, I can't blame them, I would have done the same.
Trying not to include any spoilers but basically, they were successful at working the NPCs and based on that, did not choose to go down a path which would have triggered the final combat.
Since this scenario has a very limited number of combats, that could be a problem for some groups although my players were happy with the session and I consider their solution successful.
I think the session would have been better with either a better way to trigger the final encounter that did not count on the players either failing at the influence interaction or being foolish if they succeeded at the influence system (or the referee railroading the players regardless). I can think of a few ways to do that but in the end, this filled an evening without the extra combat, the players had a good time, so we're happy with it.
Rating is based on the player satisfaction.
Solid guide of varying qualityQbalrog —
This is a solid addition to 2E and well worth adding to your library, although uneven or even disappointing in places. It feels something like a mix of 1E Advanced Player Guide and Advanced Class guide with less ancestries and classes but I like that: nice to have a bit of both rather than to get a bunch of one while waiting 6-12 months for the other.
Versatile heritages are a great re-think, one of the best parts of the guide. While less potent at low level, the ability to add tiefling to any race, plus the new versatile heritages and the promise of more, greatly expands the range of character concepts.
Archetypes are nicely fleshed out. While the system was in the core rules, they don't really shine until here. Many will appeal only to a specific concept but can have their uses while others are significantly useful for those focusing on combat in particular. You will recognize many names from prestige classes of yore. While not, in general, as potent as an old prestige class, the move to archetypes is both more graceful and more manageable for all- players, refs and game designers. Many can be taken at lower levels and others at higher levels.
While familiars only get used so often in my games (more so by me as a player :) the extra abilities, feats and specific familiars are great. I especially like that it is both practical and clearly explained how to get an imp or faerie dragon.
Feats and spells are nice, mostly as they relate to new classes and archetypes. For existing classes, probably less useful but there are exceptions.
The new races, while definitely a nice addition beyond too human-like variants, are also unlikely to get used much in my campaigns, except maybe catfolk, although they all seem well executed.
The new backgrounds are so-so. They are nice enough and its not like backgrounds are a particularly eye-catching part of the game, although it is a nice mechanic. The rare ones were a bit disappointing to me, but again the real flavor of them is left to the player in character creation so they are solid enough.
The core classes additions were a very mixed bag. Some are quite interesting and others are so narrowly drawn as to appeal to very few players. I'm thinking of you druid, where the additions are not likely to apply to most of the druid orders. In general, core classes deserve another round of additions like the 1E combat, magic and other guides. The current crop of goodies may disappoint many.
For those looking for more ancestries, classes and archetypes, I would certainly start with this guide but note that the Golarion books, both already published and planned, add a fair amount, almost all of which can be used in non-Golarion settings. For example, apparently many of the 1E Advanced Race Guide ancestries will be coming to a Golarion guide early next year.
Great addition to 2EQbalrog —
Bestiary 2 extends the range of Bestiary one critters and adds whole new types creatures. Well worth the money.
I particularly enjoyed all the interesting variants of elementals, from Ember Foxes to Icicle Snakes: so much more than the old small, medium, large elementals of old. This creativeness has been carried throughout.
As with Bestiary 1, great creature backgrounds, treasure notes, and wonderfully varied unique abilities.
Definitely looking forward to more Bestiaries!
Worthy addition for most GMsQbalrog —
When I first saw the pre-publication description I was skeptical about this book. Chase sub-systems? NPC gallery for not so interesting NPCs? Bah. I know how to run a chase.
First read improved my view but I was still pretty lukewarm. However, upon reflection, and a few sessions where I found myself referencing hazards, influence and chase, even some of the NPCs, my opinion of this book has grown to where I find it quite useful.
Things I've used and quite enjoy:
Things I expect to use more of but haven't used yet:
Overall, this exceeded my initial expectations and I'm quite glad to have it in the library. Some things like the sub-systems would be useful for any game system
Niche but good materialQbalrog —
Nice addition for an alchemist and of some use for a GM for some one-shot loot. Well produced with a good range of items.
Solid expansion of animal companionsQbalrog —
Has a good tweak of existing animals and good number of additional ones. Nice addition for anyone with an animal companion.
Well worth itQbalrog —
This product fills a specific need but does it very well. I have the pdf version, which is a great value (love the little joke in the price, BTW).
Creating mythic creatures can be a bit of a chore- this book gives you a very nice range to choose from. Looking forward to other mythic monster compendiums from this group.
Few pictures but layout is nice, monsters are solid and there's a wide range of CRs to choose from. Good product for the price.