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Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Beast (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Add Print Edition $14.99
Add PDF $10.49
My favorite "Blood" book so farStratagemini —
This book is chock full of everything you could possibly want to play one of the races within it. From the map of where they are located in the inner sea, to fluffy flavor which makes it easy to get inside your potential character's head, to beautiful archetypes, bloodlines, and psychic disciplines.
Even the art is a step above other books in this line. It's extremely rare that a piece of art makes me actually want to play a character, but the illustration for the Warp Discipline Ratfolk Psychic made me want to play one, and I don't even like Ratfolk.
My only complaint is that the Change Size alternate racial trait for Vanara lets you shift into a smaller monkey-person, instead of a larger monkey-person. It's hard to pretend to be King Kong when you're the size of a Halfling.
Discussion of the product from a Kickstarter backerStratagemini —
The Jabberwock with eyes of Flame (not included) comes whiffling through the tulgey wood (also sold seperately), in 5 parts. Right arm (the mini's right, not yours), 2 separate wings, the Head, and the rest of the figurine. The Cast is nicely detailed with texture, and teh plastic base supports the figurine well and has a decent amount of texturing so that when painted an appropriate shade of green or brown it wouldn't look out of place as dirt or grass. The Figurine is Huge Sized, and all the separate parts slot in remarkably easily with a tab and slot system (though glue is needed to secure them in place because they also slide apart remarkably easily). The figure requires no primer or undercoat when painting (perhaps its greatest strength), though one can be used if you wish. Furthermore, the white under-layer makes the paint added show up extremely vividly, a trait shared by all the bones which make this miniature line a joy to paint. It also is super helpful for a beginner miniature painter just starting painting.
So why did I rate it 4 stars instead of 5?
When the figurine arrived in shipping the base was slightly warped. Not seriously noticeable, just a slight curvature in the base, enough to make it wobble like a table on an uneven surface. as a Result, I have to either press the base flat until the plastic warps to conform to a flat surface, or I need to use modeling clay or epoxy to prop up the base so that it won't wobble any more.
A slight problem. Easily fixable. But eminently noticeable. That's why this product doesn't receive 5 stars.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Artifacts & Legends (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Add Print Edition $19.99
Add PDF $13.99
Crunchy and flavorful, a recommended part of any GM's literary diet.Stratagemini —
First off, if you're not a GM, DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK. The book is GM only, and contains spoilers for Kingmaker, Curse of the Crimson Throne, Seven Swords of Sin, Rise of the Runelords, Serpent's Skull, and several other modules and APs. In some cases (such as Serpent's Skull) these can spoil the entire ending of the AP completely. If you aren't a GM stop reading this review now. This review is for GMs and spoilers will be unmarked.
That aside, this book is brilliant. Several old artifacts along with many new ones. Each of the Major artifacts comes with it's own attendant legend about how it fits into Golarion. Several Artifacts (such as the orbs of dragonkind) have entirely new options or different statistics than displayed in the core or in other sources (one example in the book is an Orb of the Jabberwock, among others). Each artifact is beautifully illustrated as well.
Each artifact is handled beautifully. The Seven Swords of Sin are each statted out with their respective powers. Baba Yaga's Hut is there complete with Maps and explanations and charts of it's space warping powers.
New artifacts that don't behave like other artifacts hosted in this book as well. Artifacts such as the Phylactery of the Failed which is more like a combination of a trap and disease similar to the Death's head Coffer from the Curse of the Crimson Throne writ large, the Song of Extinction, a music box that allows a Bard to learn the actual artifact, a bardic performance, The Staff of Ages, which acts as a Time Machine, and the Apollyon Ring which turns your consciousness into a memetic disease.
There are also Metagame artifacts to handle a number of out of game phenomenon in game. Specifically: quantum players, quantum companions, out of character tactical planning, and rebuilding characters.
The book enables a whole world of tools for GMs interested in running their own adventures in Golarion, or even in homebrew settings. If you're a GM, there is no reason not to buy this book.
The list of artifacts is as follows:
Axe of the Dwarvish Lords
Bloodstones of Arazni
Book of the Damned
Bottle of the Bound
Codex of the Infinite Planes
Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga
Horns of Naraga
Lens of Galundari
Orbs of Dragonkind
Relics of Kazavon
Ring of Nine Facets
Saint Cuthbert’s Mace
Scepter of Ages
Scroll of Kakishon
Shield of Aroden
Skull of Ydersius
Song of Extinction
Swords of Sin
Thorncrown of Iomedae
Crown of the Simurgh
Deck of Harrowed Tales
Harrow Deck of Many Things
Hourglass of Shadows
Phylactery of the Failed
Torc of Kostchtchie
Totem of Angazhan
Figurine of the Concealed Companion
Hourglass of Transfiguration
Scar of Destiny
Sliver of the Amalgam Mind
Pathfinder Adventure Path #62: Curse of the Lady's Light (Shattered Star 2 of 6) (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Add PDF $13.99
An Essential Sequel to Curse of the Crimson ThroneStratagemini —
Let us put aside this product as a member of the Shattered Star AP for a second, you don't need this review if you're looking at this module as a member of that AP. You're probably going to buy it anyway, and why not? It's a pretty inventive and fun Dungeon Crawl, and it fits well into the AP as a whole. If you're running the AP you'll probably run this module.
This Review isn't for those people. This is a review for people who are not planning on running this as part of the Shattered Star AP, this is a review for people who are running Curse of the Crimson Throne (or some other Runelord focused campaign). Be aware, this entire review will be full of spoilers for both this module and Curse of the Crimson Throne. These spoilers will not be marked.
First off, the articles for this module are on Torag, and the Gray Maidens. The Torag article is interesting, but doesn't really bear any relation to the topic of this review, so we'll be skipping it. The article on the Gray Maidens however, is essential both for those intending to run Curse of the Crimson Throne while they are running that path, and as a sort of epilogue to the path. The article comes in the form of a brief explanation of who the Gray Maidens are, followed by a listing of several different prominent Gray Maidens listed by how the fallout from the ending of Curse of the Crimson Throne effected them. Leaders, fanatics, those scarred by their experiences, repentant Gray Maidens, and even those for whom removing the armor has not been an option. This includes gray maidens for a wide range of character levels, from Sabina Merrin, to more humble personages. The characters range from a disgraced priestess of Urgathoa, to a Wizard who was conscripted into the force against her will, to Hellknights both volunteer and conscripted. All of these NPCs can help a DM running Crimson Throne by providing additional (female) NPCs both during, and after the events of Curse of the Crimson Throne. The article also explains the fallout and public perception of Gray Maidens in Korvosa after the events of Curse of the Crimson Throne and includes a Role statblock (similar to those in the new Player companion line products such as the Varisia companion) for making new Gray Maidens.
So that's one part of the module, the next part of the Module that is of relevance to someone who either is running or has run Crimson Throne, is the adventure itself. At its most fundamental level, this is an adventure where you chase after a group of rogue Gray Maidens bent on revenge against Korvosa into the Runelord Sorshen's country house (which happens to resemble a 200ft tall statue of liberty). The Adventure itself is solid, including encounters with "Sorshen" and a strongly flavored Lust-based dungeon that manages to avoid most of the more questionable sort of content that was present in for example, the hook mountain massacre. This modules serves very easily as a stand alone followup to Crimson Throne (for a new party of course), or as an intro or part of a set to a custom campaign involving either Sorshen or any of the other Runelords.
As an aside, all Monsters found within the book are either included specifically or easily found for free within: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/.
An amazing productStratagemini —
This product is full of incredible crunch, Fluff, and Art all in one. The main purpose of the product is sort of like the Player's guides for Paizo's Adventure Paths, but that severely undersells what you get in here.
EN Publishing has built up an entire world where guns are commonplace, technology has advanced into the industrial revolution and the center of the world is a city of immense proportions. They do this not just through fluff and description, but also through crunch and beautifully painted color art. For example, the standard 2 traits you would get at character Gen in a Paizo path have been replaced with a "Character Theme" which gives you a specially created feat scaled to match with the other theme feats (rather than other feats in general). anyone can take any theme feat but some (like the gunsmith theme feat) are obviously better for certain types of characters. These feats help to establish a character's role in the world, as well as opening a player's first real window into a world where technology and magic are beginning to meet in earnest for the first time.
That's just one example among many however. I'd continue, but in the time it took for me to list them all, you could have just downloaded the PDF here already and gone through it yourself. Since the PDF is free, I recommend you do just that and get a taste of what EN Publishing has created in this setting.
Pathfinder Adventure Path: Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Add PDF $41.99
A comparison between the Anniversary Edition and the older version of RunelordsStratagemini —
This review takes the form of an overall comparison between the new version of Runelords and the Old version. I'll detail some of the new additions, the changes, and what was removed.
First off, the actual in game content for Rise of the Runelords is almost all preserved. Some Bestiary monsters have been removed, but they were either optional to the AP (like the Sandpoint Devil and the Attic Whisperer) or they are now in one of the published Bestiaries (and thus easily referenced from the PRD). Other than certain Bestiary monsters there has been no in game content that was removed. Every encounter is there, every dungeon is there, every important NPC has a statblock.
So what Has been removed? Articles. There are no more Pathfinder Journals. Many of the articles that were in the adventure path were also removed. All articles on Gods (Desna and Lamashtu) have been removed. The history of Karzoug
Spoiler:was removed. The culture of the Stone Giants was removed. The History of Thassilon was severely curtailed. So what remains of the articles? All the location articles are preserved and updated. Sandpoint, Magnimar, Turtleback Ferry, and Xin-Shalast all have their own articles. The "Magic Of Thassilon" article is preserved and expanded (though "More magic of Thassilon" is removed) in the form of "New Rules". The new Rules article has updated versions of spells, items, and a new mechanic for tracking Sin and Virtue Points in the campaign. Finally all the introductions to the various APs are removed.
The big bad of the path and titular Runelord
So what has Changed? Almost all of the earlier art. Mostly for the better. Ameiko Kajitsu and Shalelu Andosana both reuse Art from Jade Regent, but there's new art for the goblins, the Skinsaw Man, Aldern Foxglove, the handouts (such as the deed in the Skinsaw massacres and the letter in Sins of the Saviors), as well as Belor Hemlock and Orik Vancaskerkin. Some art (like Aldern Foxglove, Korvus the Goblin, and the Skinsaw Man) is an incredible improvement. Some art (like Vancaskerkin's new portrait and Belor Hemlock) is slightly disappointing. On the whole though the new art is a boon.
The stat blocks have also changed, some have merely been updated to pathfinder mostly verbatim with third party classes preserve,(e.g. Delphine's entire encounter in module 5) and some have been completely overhauled (e.g. the quasit in module one is now a Witch instead of the Thaumaturgist she was in the original iteration of the path). Additionally, the final encounter with the big bad of the adventure path has been heavily overhauled with an entirely new map, new stat blocks, round by round instructions, and additional hazards and participants.
So what's new? In addition to everything being updated, there are several new monsters in the Bestiary like the Scarlet Walker. There are New Magic Items like the Anathema Archive. Additionally Several merely magical Items have been updated to Artifacts.
But the biggest addition is in the campaign itself. There are far more connections between and the modules now. You meet Ameiko Kajitsu's father in a fairly interesting encounter early on in Burnt offerings, for instance, among many other small additional encounters throughout the book. There's an entirely new Dungeon section (for sloth) in the Runeforge. That's in addition to all the changes and the new Items discussed earlier.
If you're just starting an AP for the first time this AP will give you everything you need (with some use of the Free online PRD to supplement). But I feel sad to see a lot of the details of ancient Thassilon and some of the factions and enemies you run into vanish, because those aren't on the PRD. They aren't essential to running the path, but they were fun and added a lot of fun bits to the path.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Equipment (OGL)Paizo Inc.
Add Print Edition $49.99
Add PDF $9.99
A GM's Review of Ultimate EquipmentStratagemini —
First off, this is a review on two levels first and foremost as a utility for a GM, and secondarily as a review of the book as a whole (need for errata, artwork and such). If you're a player, this review isn't for you.
First lets get clear what this product is and isn't. This product is a compilation of all the core weapons, and armor both mundane and magical, all the enchantments, all the magic items, several artifacts, mundane gear, art objects, intelligent items, and treasure tables. Many of these items are entirely new for this book alone.
What this isn't is a book which includes non-core items, that is, items or enchantments specific to Golarion. You won't find Wayfinders or the Agile enchantment in here, nor will you find runewells or any otehr artifact, weapon, armor, gear, or enchantment specific to Golarion. Those aren't things you should expect in the rule line and you won't get them if you buy this book.
This Product is absolutely essential if you are a GM. It compiles, as I have previously mentioned, all of the core items. The sheer amount of information in the book is staggering. And there are tables and treasure types that make rolling up loot incredibly easy. if you want to check an item this is basically your one stop reference.
There are plenty of new and interesting items, many of which give support to under-supported classes like Gunslingers and Monks, as well as Alchemists and Summoners. A couple of examples of new items are: a vial of blood that lets a Sorceror use a different bloodline, and/or permanently change their bloodline, a Holy avenger equivalent for Anti-paladins, a Katana that lets you make a retributive strike similar to a Staff of Power, and a Pistol that lets you shoot ammo to create a Burning Hands effect.
But there are some issues with the book. Many of the items are copy pasted descriptions from other sources. This is not generally an issue save in the case of items which already needed Errata. Almost none of these items were fixed. Secondly, if you're hoping for new art you're mostly out of luck. Many individual items and weapons have new art to them, but the beautiful twp page chapter header spreads are all reused from other books with newly added stories to them.
Even with the drawbacks, this book is essential for GMs and well worth your while to purchase.
Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of Fiends (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Add PDF $7.99
Print Edition Unavailable
Delivers exactly what it promisesStratagemini —
The book is the definitive guide for tieflings in Golarion, each heritage has two heritage specific traits (in addition to several more general tiefling traits) and a fair amount of flavor content to it. The versatility of Tieflings is improved with the addition of two charts from the Council of thieves Adventure path dealing with Alternative Spell-like abilities, and random cosmetic mutations for GMs to customize their Tiefling NPCs.
There are several Tiefling-centric feats (all but one of them requires the character be a Tiefling) all of which seem fairly well balanced. The Daemon Bloodline for sorcerors provides new and interesting powers with several not found anywhere else. The new Bard Masterpieces all look pretty fun to use, and with three new oracle curses and an equal number of inquisitions each aligned with one of the evil planes the book is fairly comprehensive.
The flavor articles are robust, and well grounded in what little we already know about Tieflings in Golarion with subsets for where certain heritages are most commonly found and sections for Tieflings from most countries in both the inner sea and Tian-Xia. In addition to general overviews and bits about what makes each variant of tiefling unique from a flavor perspective.
My only issues with the book are that it doesn't modify Tieflings so that their Fiendish sorcery works for the Daemon Bloodline. And that the feat which allows it to work for other bloodlines doesn't include Daemon either.
Overall, a fairly solid, well balanced and flavorful book.