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Excellent underwater content, oh, and there's a campaign setting tooidilippy —
This book is everything I never knew I needed to have to run an underwater adventure, and has made me interested in an all underwater campaign, something I never would have wanted to run without this book. While they required a little thinking to wrap my head around, the rules for buoyancy, drag, and pressure really add a lot to the feel of an underwater game.
The races come next, and offer a nice variety of exotic races to choose from as well as more familiar races like sea elves and seafolk. classes chapter, aside from including a few interesting new classes like the Kahuna and Siren, gives short conversion notes for the core and APG pathfinder classes that keep them relevent in an entirely underwater campaign.
Not to be overlooked in all the excellent rules is the fact that this book is called a Campaign Setting and does include some information about the Cerulean Seas. Small nuggets of campaign details are sprinkled through each section of the book, and a short 26 page section gives a little information on the history of the various races and a tiny amount of information on cities in the setting. This is probably the section of the book that could use the most expansion, and if my primary interest in the book was as a campaign setting I would probably disappointed with this section. As it is it's a nice little bonus add on to the rules and serves to give some flavor to the different races.
All in all this book provides everything you never knew you desperately wanted for underwater campaigns. If you have any interest in running an underseas campaign this book will be valuable to you. If you never thought you wanted to run an undersea campaign this might convert you like it did for me.
An excellent, flavorful campaign settingidilippy —
I bought this book as a pdf and this review covers the pdf version of the product.
It was a campaign setting (the Forgotten Realms) that got me involved in RPGs, hooking me to the idea of playing (and running) adventures in an actual world that keeps on spinning regardless of the adventure's outcome, with nations, power groups, and individuals with their own goals and plots full of gaming potential. Flipping through the pages of a good campaign setting usually leaves me with dozens of potential adventure or campaign ideas.
The Midgard campaign setting is no exception. This wonderful, mythical world is overflowing with fascinating locations, horrifying evils, and excellent, original takes on many fantasy tropes. On most pages there is at least one or two ideas ready to be made into campaign or character ideas. There is an excellent mix of folklore inspired and truly original creations. Some particular standouts for me include the subterranean Ghoul Empire, the Seven Cities and their wars, the Wasted West with the slow moving horrors, Ley Lines, Shadow Roads, and the Gnomes, oh the awesome of the gnomes.
If you are looking for a world oozing with fun, flavorful locations and beings, with intriguing adventure ideas on almost every page, pick up this setting. Even if you don't move your campaign to Midgard you can find lots to use in this great book and setting.
Updated and better than everidilippy —
I am primarily a Pathfinder GM, only rarely do I roll up a character, and from the first time I encountered monster templates I loved the concept. For most of my campaign I used the original Advanced Bestiary, along with other monster template books, to great effect in my games. When I learned of the Kickstarter to update the Bestiary to Pathfinder I jumped in and backed it at the pdf level.
Now that I have received the pdf and had a chance to use it in my current campaigns I can safely say that this is my favorite Pathfinder monster resource book. This book is a must have resource for Pathfinder GMs in my opinion, at least as valuable as the various Bestiaries themselves. This over 300 page book contains dozens of fantastic, evocative, and deadly templates, as well as example creatures for the templates ranging from CR 1/3 to 29. Aside from being a great resource for beefing up well known monsters, there are many templates in this book that drip with story potential. Finally, even in pdf form the book's looks great, with wonderful illustrations for the example creatures.
This is hands down a 5 star book and a must have resource for any Pathfinder GM
Excellent Collection of Interesting Itemsidilippy —
I'll start off by noting that I have a bias in this case, as I have always loved unique equipment, intelligent items, and magic items with history. As this is a collection of unique, intelligent magic items that each get their own history this book would have to work very hard to disappoint me.
Right off the bat the book starts off strong with an introduction written as a letter in character which is interesting enough to draw me in, then followed up on by a few paragraphs on reasons why an item could be intelligent. I like the rationale used in this book, the view that the potential for intelligence lies in many items, and especially the idea that being wielded by a passionate or significant individual can draw out the intelligence in an item. This provides a great in character reason for a PC to have a favored item of theirs start to develop intelligence.
Also present in the introduction is a bit on how the PCs can learn about the items and a bit about changing the more generic histories given for the items up a little to fit a specific campaign world. The table for identifying the intelligent items seems to have DCs a little low for me, and I am a little uncertain why they chose to have the DC for knowing most of the item's history be less than the DC for knowing what the item is. As these are legendary items it seems that knowledge of them is expected to be widely spread, which explains the low DCs in general, so this little quirk doesn't affect how I feel about the pdf.
Moving on we get into the meat of the pdf, the intelligent items themselves. Each item is defined by the usual statistics, then has a description for appearance, history, personality, powers, it's special purpose (if applicable), and construction requirements. As a side note, I really like that the introduction makes it clear that fulfilling the magic item creation construction requirements doesn't necessarily mean that the specific intelligent item can be recreated exactly. Each of the items is well described, and a couple of pieces of artwork are scattered throughout, though nothing particularly noteworthy to me.
A few notes on the items themselves:
Ha-Min's Circlet: A great item with a decent power and a very interesting purpose. I'm a little confused why an item infused with a sense of justice that exists to help others and be charitable has a CN alignment. Other than that (which could be a typo) this item has an excellent story and could be very interesting, especially for a too-greedy PC to find for a time.
Marrija: A cool item, it's personality (mirroring the owner's behavior so long as they are a powerful mage) makes for interesting plot possibilities, as does it's ability to preserve a copy. Evil and cautious mages could use this item to have a backup in case they are slain which is limited but still useful.
Nasirdil: Interesting, so long as a PC likes the idea of being a part of a formerly great noble family. Also, I am amused by the idea of an intelligent item which is encouraging it's wielder to continue the bloodline and produce heirs.
Red Najaddi: A cool item with an argumentative personality that could be fun or obnoxious depending on the group. Useful for a party but very opinionated, I really like the bit about it being pulled into arguments easily but refusing to stop talking even when drawn to a topic it knows nothing about.
Salchuk Carpet: A carpet of flying with the cool side effect of basically being a portable trap, able to affect those who step on it if the carpet feels they are hostile to the wielder.
All in all this is a fantastic resource for any GM who wants to add some interesting items to their campaign. Between the price tag and the amount of value I greatly recommend this to anyone who likes intelligent items, or even just interesting items with history in general if you're willing to do a tiny bit of work taking out the intelligence.
An Excellent Spell Supplimentidilippy —
A short pdf packed full of goodness, the Genius Guide to 110 Spell Variants adds 110 new spells to the game in quite an efficient way, by building off of spells that already exist. By both tweaking existing game spells slightly and extrapolating higher level versions of existing spells SGG is able to fill the 10 page pdf (1 page cover/intro, credits/OGL) with just the material needed to modify the existing spells.
This book provides a GM with an excellent resource for their magic using NPCs as well as for unique or custom spell ideas for player PCs to research or discover as treasure. For the price this pdf packs a lot of content. This pdf also is notable for including spells for the APG specific classes. Antipaladins, Alchemists, Inquisitors, Oracles, Summoners, and Witches are all given some love with the new spells.
The pdf itself is laid out well, easy to read, and all in all well done. The spells seem to pass the eyeball test for balance, and in play I haven't run into any problems with the spells I've used as a GM or left as treasure for the PCs. If you are a GM looking to add some spells to your game, or a player looking for balanced spell options for your character to research give this pdf a look!
A must have for DMs whose players have seen it allidilippy —
DM "Before you rises a hulking, hideously twisted form at least nine feet tall. Long, gangly arms end in razor sharp claws, and its greenish, rubbery skin is marked with countless scars. It tears the arrow out of its arm and before your eyes a new scar forms in seconds!"
DMs have seen this before, or a scenario much like it, long term players have seen all the traditional monsters so many times that it is difficult to surprise them anymore. While there is always the option of throwing out the familiar in favor of something new, an endless stream of monsters that the players have never heard of gets tiresome as well, and adding class levels to monsters can be a complicated task. And sure, a DM can just decide to add abilities to a monster, but I'll be the first to admit as a DM sometimes my ideas are much better in my head than in the execution.
Enter templates, an easy way for DMs to add a little spice, changing up a monster just enough to let it surprise even the most experienced players. This book, 101 Not So Simple Monster Templates, is filled to the brim with these excellent resources. Many of the templates within this book include quick rules that can be used to modify a creature in a few seconds, perfect for the last minute additions a DM might need, though a few of the templates only include rebuilding rules, including some of the templates that stretch the label "simple" beyond the breaking point.
While all of the templates in this book were presented well, in my opinion, a few of the templates within definitely stand out from the rest.
First, the Afflicted creature template is quite simple in concept, a creature which is suffering from an affliction or curse that losers its defenses and abilities, but provides a wealth of possibilities to to a DM. As a CR -3 template, this template could be of excellent use to DMs whose players tend to know exactly where a certain monster falls on the CR scale. Having a creature 4 or 5 CR above the players with this template allows a DM the chance to center an adventure around an iconic, powerful enemy that might be too strong for the characters otherwise. You could even provide a way for PCs to be the ones who cause the affliction in the first place, giving them a way to weaken a powerful creature before taking it on. There are numerous possibilities for this template to be part of an adventure beyond simply changing the mechanics of a monster, which drew me to it immediately.
Also, the Mist Hunter template had my mind spinning with possibilities. A creature that creates its own fog, and attacks from it without being troubled by it, seems to be a perfect fit for any number of foul or undead beings. Facing something, or a number of things, that strike hard and melt back into the fog, perhaps eerily silent or else babbling or shrieking with maddened laughter, could make for a difficult and memorable encounter.
Pyrrhic creatures just scream to be the creation of a powerful creature, serving as weak and disposable minions that explode upon their death, dealing a type of energy damage that any self respecting being of power will have made themselves resistant or immune to long ago. This could force PCs to be careful with their attacks, or clever PCs might use this to their advantage once they know about it, maneuvering the exploding creatures together and setting off a chain reaction of exploding minions. In any case the first use of this template is sure to be a shock, and subsequent encounters that include this template will certainly make for some adjusting.
Finally, I can't talk about this book without mentioning the Walking Fortress template. An excellent, nearly page long template that stretches the definition of a "simple" template to the limits, walking fortress does what it says, turns a creature with at least 4 legs into a Colossal version of itself, complete with a fortress on its back. The Walking Fortress creature itself is probably not something you want to face in head to head combat, but could be a fantastic location for the adventure. A ruined island on the back of a long dormant turtle, an invading drow army complete with a command post on the back of an enormous spider, or any number of other scenarios could revolve around the PCs braving the defenders or inhabitants of the fortress in order to get control of or stop/kill the creature from the inside.
I've left out many excellent template but if I talked about them all this review might be as long as the pdf. In the end if you are a DM I can't recommend this product enough. The templates within are excellent ways to spice up monsters that the players know and love, and many of these templates may spark adventure ideas that could lead you to many hours of excellent adventuring.