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Pathfinder Society Scenario #37: The Beggar's Pearl (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Crazy tough for beginning levelskevin_video —
So my group was filled with three 1st level and two 2nd levels, and literally the only reason we won was because of the tank dwarf who minmaxed his character to the point all he could do was damage. Against the BBEG he was critical to keep alive, and it was even worse when we learned what we needed to do proper damage. Very few people carry that at 1st level. I do it out of paranoia after gaming for so many years.
Could be better.kevin_video —
This product claims "In Feats Reforged, feats scale in ability as you do, so that their level of ability matches your own." They don't. Not all of them anyways. A lot of the bonuses are too insignificant, and come too late in the character's career to even be negligible. Probably the biggest gap are combat vs. spellcasters. The latter unquestionably have the best feats. If you're a caster, you get bonuses and re-rolls to damage dice or against SR. Also, the metamagic feats and item crafting feats are near perfect. But if you're a melee or ranged combatant, you get +1 damage to your attacks. What? That said, if you're a two-weapon user, and do finessing, you get the better end of the deal.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #5–23: Cairn of Shadows (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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All kinds of not goodkevin_video —
This is coming from a player's view. I don't hate challenge, but this was all kinds of ridiculous at 5-6.The GM let me see the 8-9 stats, and I just walked away.
We had a balanced group of five, and none of us had fun with this. About the only good part of this adventure was the written tactics of the creatures as there were many times the GM said he could have been so much meaner if he'd been allowed the room to do so.
The fact that there's essentially two red herrings in this adventures was absolutely aggravating. Especially the chain climbing.
Unlike other reviewers, we didn't take the BBEG down anywhere nearly as quick as only one person was fighting him. The rest of us were dying from the mob continually bleeding us out. The only thing that saved our hides was a dedicated healer and lucky rolls on the channel. Going over the second set of conditions we didn't have a hope in attaining it (and didn't), and we only got the treasure by sheer fluke.
Overall, the players were extremely disappointed, and even called the GM on a couple of things only to find out that it was just the scenario itself. I can not recommend this.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-08: Among the Gods (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Just a WTFkevin_video —
This was lethal for 6-7. If you can avoid doing that tier, do so. Even the 3-4 had unnecessary moments. At the same time, I weep for any of you who have to play this now like I did because you are pretty much guaranteed to never get your second prestige with the new secondary conditions that were written. There is absolutely no way our party could have avoided this, and we had a dedicated character who was built for that kind of condition. And we still couldn't do it. As well, that end DC was absolutely ridiculous for a 3-4 tier. If you don't have someone with feats and skill ranks dedicated to Perception, be ready for disappointment.
Just a lot of unnecessary. The entire table groaned when we found out what we'd lost out on because we couldn't make the DC 25 Perception or what the secondary condition was.
On top of that, the editors need to read these more carefully for missed words and sentence structure.
The only upside is that it was a quick scenario.
An Incredible Resource, and a Must Have for GMskevin_video —
Full Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book for review purposes. I will review it fairly.
This book is amazing. It is 339 pages long, with a few pages dedicated to fluff, cover pages, and multiple elaborate Table of Contents for various content. When I first read this, I'll admit that I had no idea what I was getting myself into. This book was everything I was expecting, and so much more. When I saw the number of pages I figured that there'd be more pages dedicated to fluff, OGL layouts, etc and only a moderate portion of content. I was very wrong. It's so much more than that. This is book is something every homebrew GM needs to have in their collection. Not only does it give you varied details on how to design a dungeon, it gives you subcategories on each of the designs. You don't just get dungeon layouts, you get the characteristics, the secrets within, the features, varied traps besides what you'd see in the core books, riddles, legends that go with the dungeons, smells, magical premises, extra dimensional portals, treasure hoards for all player levels, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. If nothing else, if your players are the overly questioning type of what the walls look like, how high the ceiling is, what's on the ceiling, what direction is the wind coming from and what odors come with it, this book can definitely help out with that.
Being a relatively seasoned GM and having read a number of "dungeon crawls" over the years, as well as adventure paths and scenarios run with groups, I have to say that this book is a love letter to all the old school dungeons of yesteryear that I wish had come out a decade earlier. I can't help but think that if this had been released sooner that I would have gotten so much more out of the other dungeon crawls I'd read. While reading this I had nothing but ideas of my own design, and how I could change or improve on the upcoming games I'll be running with my players. For me that really means something as I'm not very good at coming up with anything of my own. I usually borrow maps and just replace the encounters, but keep the write-ups. With this, I can come up with something much more original.
This book will help you design practically any dungeon your mind can think up. From the very simple to the overly elaborate. For me, the real selling point is the riddles. I suck at coming up with those, and personally hate them when I come across them as I'm not one to think outside the box that well. That said, I know a lot of players who feel that it's not a true dungeon crawl until they meet a sphinx with three riddles loaded. For them, this book will satisfy their need to answer the unanswerable.
The bookmarks take you to every possible location you need to go, as well as the Table of Contents is linked to each subject. This alone is a major selling point for someone like me as I do not always have to go back and forth as I'm not one for memorizing where I wanted to go. While a couple of them are somewhat broken, I've talked with the author, and this is getting rectified.
Along with the different Table of Contents on varied subjects, there are also random tables for encounters, smells, sounds, chest contents, dressings and features, characteristics and appearance, and statues. Not only that, but there's subtables for things like portcullises, statues, entrances, chests, and other things you didn't know you needed. The wealth of information is in overabundance, and as a GM you will never know how grateful you will be of such things.
Finally, the treasure hoards. The thing your players entered the dungeon for in the first place. Not only is there a hoard for each CR level a PC might face, but it's also got 12 variations of what they could find in the treasure pile. It can be anything from a mixture of gold and jewels and no magical items in sight to only magic items with a small amount of gold to round it out.
Conclusion: Get this book! This handy guide is an absolute must for any GM. Whether you've done is a million times, or you're not that great at it, this book can always give you something that you didn't think you needed to add in.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-02: Before the Dawn—Part II: Rescue at Azlant Ridge (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Fun, Short, and a little Flawedkevin_video —
GMed once, at Tier 1-2.
I was lucky enough to get the same five players as I had for part 1, and felt bad when I had to tell others that they really shouldn't join if only because the idea of automatically gaining 1d10+2 "Awareness" points, when the actual part had so perfectly only gained 2, just seemed unnecessary, and it'd really be unfortunate if anyone had maxed it out. The first encounter alone would have been a TPK. And if they happened to survive that, then it would have been a TPK in the final battle. That's incredibly unnecessary.
The math did not add up in a lot of ways for two of the encounters, and I felt bad for the PCs in the first encounter when they couldn't touch the captain because he has PC wealth and was somehow only a CR 2. What? No. Even worse was the incredibly empty Chronicle sheet at the end. All five players were incredibly disappointed by the lack of a boon when Part 1 had a great boon. Anything would have been better than nothing.
Our final battle with the champion was over quite quickly. The player managed to roll two natural 20's, and nearly max damage. The fight didn't even last the full two rounds. And looking over the weapon, those stats can't be right. The damage and Strength just seems too high, even when compared to others of the same type and CR.
I agree with others that there was so much potential to this, but it just didn't quite live up to the expectations we thought it should have had. We finished in three hours. Easily the shortest game any of us have played or ran.
The large map was cool, the premise was neat, the epic encounter was cool, the players had fun overall, so it gets 3 stars instead of less.
I've heard a rumour that we can expect a sequel to this where the PCs have a chance of returning to the dig site once more either this season or next. If it's true, my players have already called first dibs. I hope this actually does come to pass because this is one location I'd really love to see expanded upon.
After our DM decided that we'd be doing up a new campaign, filled entirely full of monsters, he showed us this book in hopes of us taking something a little more eclectic than the standard beastiary books. And, wow. Bastion Press, I really enjoyed going through this. Easily the best for me, of all of the creatures in here, has to be Mirror Fiend. That's the perfect guard for a shrine or vault. No one would suspect it. However, that AC is ridiculous. No level 7 character can hit that. The most interesting for a story that could be its own subcampaign is the Hearth Horror. This could be something that the characters just happen to hear about at the very beginning, not thinking anything of it, and then by level 7 they'll probably figure out something's not right with the town, and have to fight it. I love seeds like that. Really gives it a chance to grow. Given that we're converting this to Pathfinder, I can see our oracle of the void eventually having to face down the CR 18 void monster.
Overall, it was fun to look through, and the coloured art was pretty, and I can't wait to use it in my own campaigns. I'm definitely using the Blessed Ring for the dwarf campaign I want to do. It's perfect for the underground Mushroom Forest they'll be traveling through. I'm glad our DM found this, and is letting us use it.
I did have a couple of issues with it. The editing was missing the hyphens "-", making reading a little more difficult until you realize that part. The other is the math, and there being no explanations behind it. Why does that creature have +18 natural armor when other creatures of its CR only has +3 to +9? How come that creature uses its Intelligence for AC? Minor things like that which make you scratch your head.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-11: The Penumbral Accords (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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This is based on a 1st level tier playthrough.
The group consisted of one 2nd level ranger, and four first levels--an inquisitor, a samurai (pregen), a monk, and a pyrokineticist playtester.
Just want to say now, that if it hadn't been for the ranger, who just hit 2nd level, picking up a cure light wand at the beginning, this would have been a TPK. The ranger player kept track of how much damage he'd taken. By the end of the scenario, he had taken 80 pts of damage, just by himself, and used 20 charges off the wand to heal the party. The monk had used up all of his potions of cure light, and the inquisitor had used up both of her cure light slots.
This was not written fairly. A construct with DR 5/-, SR 13, AND AC 20 was just stupid. How broken did the writer think 1st level characters could get? Then the next room has someone 15 ft. up the wall lobbing acid bombs that do burning and splash damage, and they have a 50/50 mischance on their AC? Um, what? Again, 1st level! And then to add insult to injury, the other rooms had the easiest fights EVER! We beat them during the surprise round.
Then the worst of worsts. The only way to beat the entire scenario, which ended up being a loss because no one in the party had the skill, was to make a Knowledge (arcana) check on how to stop the events. Didn't even have detect magic to even find what was causing the effects. The GM was even willing to give us a Knowledge (religion) check, but no one had that either. A 2nd level party MIGHT have had a chance.
I think what personally disappointed me the most was there was no room for negotiations regarding encounters. No handle animal checks, no diplomacy, no wild empathy, nothing. The GM allowed us to make the checks regardless, and then apologized during initiative because it was a specific beat-em up. Really?
Overall, very unimpressed by the scenario. Everyone at the table wondered what the point of us even playing was. Even the GM couldn't get over how at higher tiers the encounters seemed easier to deal with.
The venture captain knows our complaints, and next time this game comes up to be played, he will personally make sure that the party is better balanced and higher level.
Good concept, but needed that little bit extrakevin_video —
Basically, I said all of this in the comments, verbatim.
I love the concept, and the pdf, but it feels like it needs more. I'd love to see a feat that gives more construct points. At least 4 more at a time. Right now, a living doll can't be brought to life AND have darkvision. So it just has darkvision but isn't a living doll? How are they healed? Is it with Repair Damage, which is a 3.5 spell? How about a sewing kit that is the equivalent of the Healer's Kit? And if you use two uses of it, allows you to reattach missing appendages.
As good as this is, it's needs more for its price. A web enhancement that gives us monstrous dolls, or the ability to change limbs (see Toy Story and the Lego movies), would be great. More feats so you can enhance the doll, and even a conversion of the slaymate (Libris Mortis) and carrionette (Dragon Magazine 339, AD&D Monstrous Manual).
Not much is needed, just a couple of things here and there. Overall, it's decent, but it was just lacking that extra push to be spectacular.
That being said, I'm hoping that one day I can do a one-shot with these races at a convention. It'll be fun for everyone to play something different.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #4–07: Severing Ties (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Mixed Bagkevin_video —
Played this for the first time tonight, and the only reason we survived was because we had four 1st level PCs, so we got the +4 to our Fort. We were not a well mixed group: one fighter, a diplomacer rogue, one pyrokineticist, and a cleric. We were doing just fine right up to the point where we had to make the meeting. Walk down the path, and Fort save vs. the gaze. That sucked. However, not as much as that golem. Wow. Who thought that was a good idea for 1st level? Why not an animated object? Only a couple of us had the speed to outrun it. At +10 to hit and an average of AC 15-17, it couldn't miss. This was a TPK waiting to happen.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Player Character FolioPaizo Inc.
Add Print Edition $9.99
Add PDF $6.99
Only worth it if you're old schoolkevin_video —
As a GM, I've never used it, but I've got one player who really likes it because it helps him keep track of everything. He has the PDF version so he doesn't have to buy a new one for each character, but everyone agreed on the same thing. This NEEDS to be form fillable. Considering the majority of players that we hang out with or play with use their tablets and laptops, it's crucial to have this form fillable. There's just too much information on too many pages to remember if you updated everything or not. And if you level up in the middle of the game? Forget it.
Considering how many FREE pdfs have that available, you'd think for $7 US that an official one would have that kind of access too.
Can't recommend this. It gets two stars for looking nice and allowing for an elaborate character creation.
The Collector's Dark Oakkevin_video —
Firstly, I will admit to having not read the original Dark Oak pdf so this will be a first timer's review of the adventure as opposed to a comparison. That being said, the Foreword tells you exactly what's been added to the original version. This is a fusion of the original Dark Oak product as well as the Village Backdrop: Thornhill product, with a few tweaks here and there so it's not just a cut and paste job. For that, I thank Raging Swan for showing their customer that they really do care, and aren't just out to make a quick dollar. And as always, there's web enhancements available on their site for this specific product. Again, not just forwarding you to the previous two pdfs for theirs.
Now, for the review of the pdf itself. The adventure comes with the standard edition pdf as well as a printable copy. It has the same setup as other Raging Swan Press pdfs with lots of bookmarks and a section where it explains how to use this adventure, and an explanation section for how to read the encounters, traps, figure out treasure, etc. While most of this is available in the core rulebook, it's nice to have a quick reference guide available to the more novice of GMs. The town of Thornhill has a few really good notable NPCs for the PCs to interact with, and whom seem as if they'd either bring something to the table in both hindrance and assistance. What's interesting is that a couple of are actually of NE alignment. I've found that to be pretty rare for just the average NPC that's not looking to immediately get in the party's way. There's also multiple locations that are explained to the GM so that the PCs can get a better feel for the different locations. There's also random encounters to involve the PCs if they're not immediately looking to get involved with the main plot, or if the GM wants to add a few more items into the mix.
On page 21 and 25 are fairly detailed numbered hex maps of the Dark Oak itself. Raging Swan Press has also been kind enough to have four alternate versions put up online as web enhancements, and they make note of this near the beginning of the pdf under "Bonus Material". The PCs are going to be trekking through the mire for quite some time, depending on how quick they are, not to mention how much of a survivalist they are. Your average party should have someone with a high Wisdom score, or at least a ranger amongst the ranks. If not, the party could end up lost in the marsh for an entire day, fighting off disease and multiple random swamp encounters. This makes for a much more realistic adventure. An adventure that states can be made into a module that could take four standard sessions.
With regards to the encounters, it's refreshing to see that they're not all hack and slash. The author has given the GM alternatives that can be given to a group who decides that diplomacy is the better course of action. Most of the encounters can be made into friendly allies who are willing to give up information to help PCs that are possibly lost, or even to call a truce. The PCs should be given the same amount of experience regardless of how the situation ended. Each encounter also has a section on how to scale it in comparison to what the average party level is. The majority of the work is already done for the GM as well, with new AC, hp, and sometimes damage changes. This saves the GM a few minutes of work, especially if this adventure was chosen on the fly. During certain battles, there's a table for the GM to make quick reference to should a PC end up doing battle in or under water. Again, this is in the core rulebook, but it makes the GM's job easier.
If the GM is running this as a one-shot, and the players either aren't going to be making their characters, or don't know how, the back of the pdf has six pre-generated characters for them to choose from. Each one has their own specific talent, and the cleric has a detailed background on his clerical order.
Overall, this looks to be a fun adventure, and has lots of room for advancement should one of the main NPCs manage to get away, or the party was too low of level to take on both BBEG resulting in a later revenge plot. However, I must point out something that everyone should make note on. What the gaming party will likely find the most annoying, because so many PCs wear heavier armor and shields, is falling into the river rapids and failing their Swim DC checks to not be swept 10-40 ft. downstream, or worse yet, trying to climb the shoreline. Unless the group has been involved with multiple encounters that involved swimming before, there's a good chance that little to no one will have any actual ranks in the skill. That could make for a very frustrating time. It might be beneficial to everyone if some swimming items were added to the local shops, or GM makes sure that the PCs have at least 1-2 ranks in the Swim skill before going into this adventure. That should hopefully cause less headaches for everyone. That being said, a group should still have lots of fun with this adventure, overall.
I definitely recommend this adventure, and I hope that someday I can run it for my group, or at least as a one-shot at a convention.
Spells That Signify Your Seasonal Markkevin_video —
To start off, let me say that my fire elementalist wizard LOVES this book. Honestly, he thought the book was made specifically for his character. If that doesn't get you wanting to buy this pdf, hopefully my review will.
The first thing that came to my attention is the immediate difference in editing and style of this book compared to the Signature Spells 1 book. It's like night and day, but unfortunately not in the good way. At least not for me. While the Signature Spells book looked very neat, well spaced, and was easy on the eyes, both the print and the tablet editions of this pdf are heavily bolded to the point that they tend to almost bleed together, and it makes it harder on the eyes. It doesn't look nearly as clean. The print version's much worse than the tablet version. The tablet version at least is passable, but it still suffers from the having too much text too close to each other. I'd have preferred things to have been spaced out more. A different text layout probably would have helped it go a long way as well.
Now that the negative aspects have been touched on, let's look at all of the positive. This product comes in a .rar file with three items contained within: a tablet copy of the pdf, a printer friendly copy of the pdf, and a Hero Lab add-on. With more people using Hero Lab these days, this is slowly becoming a standard necessity for distributors to have with each release. While I don't use the program, I know lots of people who do, and they welcome these very much. Anything to make a GM's life easier is fine by me.
Despite the faults of the text, the pdf itself is filled with wonderful additions for the Pathfinder game. The Table of Contents list everything that you can find in the product, including spells, new animal companions, a bard masterpiece, more subdomains for clerics and inquisitors, additional witch patrons, familiars, and a new magic item.
Much like the Signature Spells books, there's a listing section for all the spells, what classes they belong to, and a brief description of what each one does. The nice thing about this is you can look over each spell quickly and see exactly which ones peak your interest first so you can search it out later for a more elaborate description. One thing the reader will pick up right away is that this pdf is heavy on the fire spells, hence why my fire specialist wizard enjoyed it so much. There's definitely no shortage here. That's not all that's here though. There's a neat summoning spell for your summoner, or heavy summoning classes, to bring about a group of flying battle trained eagles to act as mounts for the party. They don't stick around for a long time so don't expect them to fly you from Point A to Point B, unless you've got the feats that'll extend it for that long. They're more meant for tactical advantage in a fight. Hopefully you don't have that large of a party though as you can only summon 1d4+1 of them per casting.
The new companions aren't terrible. It's a fire ant, and a giant bee. I like the idea of having vermin as companions that grow and get stronger as you do. The nice thing about these is you're not forced to be the very specific druid archetype. Anyone can take these. The improved familiars aren't too shabby either. Like the companions, one is fire based. They are the phoenix and the mechanical owl. It's nice to see access to a clockwork familiar without requiring a second feat on top of the Improved Familiar feat.
The new bardic masterpiece is pretty fun to read for its abilities, but other than that it seems pretty limited and circumstantial. Great for when you're fighting trolls though. If you've got a fire wizard in the party too, he's going to love the bard. It's just too bad it's not available to you until 7th level. Almost seems too little too late at that point.
The new subdomains are decent, but again the Rainbow Subdomain is a little troublesome. The Beltane Subdomain power is a nice swap-out for Nimbus of Light if you're not in a heavy undead campaign, and less limited in comparison to the Day Subdomain. At the very least, your party will appreciate the bonus during combat. The spells you gain are pretty decent too, and make some sense. The Summer Subdomain is probably favourite of the three. Swap out fire resistance for cold resistance, and eventually immunity? Yes please. Fire resistance is probably the easiest thing to obtain for any PC. Cold is a close second, and this helps make it even closer. Now the Rainbow Subdomain does give you arcane spells for the swap-out at levels 7-9, but the power you get in exchange for Storm Burst, is questionable. Don't get me wrong, Storm Burst sucks. It does nonlethal damage without the standard -4 penalty, and it's at range. Rainbow Light, however, is less circumstantial. It's melee touch instead of ranged touch, and it dazzles you for 1d4 rounds. Few things are immune to that. The only problem is finding creatures to affect with it. If at any time the character is not facing off against mooks, meaning they have more HD than the cleric, the ability is useless. It can't affect anyone who has the PC's HD+1. As long as their HD is equal or less, the cleric's power still functions. About the only reason you'd take it is because you gain the prismatic spells at 7th and on.
The witch gains two new patons, which are Blood and Summer. Both are quite nice, and great additions. Your players are going to hard up to figure out which one they want for their character. Personally I like Blood. Considering what it consists of, I honestly have to wonder if the 10th level ability is actually a typo. The 2nd level is inflict light wounds, but the 10th is cure critical? I guess that fits though as the 14th level one is regenerate.
And now finally, the new magic item. The Holocaust Cloak. Given the name you'd think it was something epic and expensive. Something almost apocalyptic in power and nature. Well, you'd be right in that it's expensive. It's a cloak that gives you either cold or fire resistance 10, makes you glow as if you were the light spell, an aura of fire that activates if hit by a natural weapon or unarmed strike for 10 rounds/day. However, you can sacrifice two of those rounds to do the equivalent to a mid-level fireball centered on you, for DC 16 Reflex. At 50,000 gold that seems way too limited.
Overall, the pdf is good. It's not something for everyone, but if you've got players who love fire spells, or you're a GM who wants to add a few more fire evocation spells to your spell book, or want to add a few more options to the clerics or witches in your group, you'll find something in here to satisfy. You won't be disappointed for what you paid for it. My player liked it, and another player is looking at it for a future witch character she'd like to do up. Chances are she'll go Blood, depending on the campaign we're doing.
I give this a 3.5 out of 5. It's got a little something for everyone, but it might not be enough for some people.
No Tears Shed For These Bugbearskevin_video —
First, I want to put this out there before anything else. Raging Swan Press has their pdfs set up in a way that's always kind of annoyed me. It's both pages on your screen. This makes things rather difficult to read. However, I've learned that if you use Adobe, in the View section, you can make it a single page scroll down by changing it to "Page Display - Single Page View". That helps immensely, and makes it far easier to read on a computer monitor, or certain tablets. The newer tablets seem to be okay with the format though. So kudos to them on having a way to change the layout, it just needs to be better advertised.
Secondly, when I read "Alternate Class and Race Features", my mind immediately thought that this book was going to have their take on the race as a Advanced Player's Guide breakdown. It does not. So if you're thinking of buying the book specifically for that, it doesn't have that there. Incidentally, it's over 20 points for all of the bugbear's abilities, minus the hit dice. I took the time to do it because it was bothering me. Would I have liked to have seen that? Absolutely. Especially with more races coming out all the time, and everyone's growing desire to play a monstrous race. Is it necessary to have had it in the book? No. This book has enough merits on its own.
Now that, that's out of the way, we can do the actual review. Neither of the above will get in the way of my final score.
The pdf opens with description of where this particular tribe of bugbears is located, and describes their home, and a bit of their personality. Called "sadists" and "chasing their prey", only to behead them at the end. This act is what places them in their pecking order.
The next page tells of how Raging Swan deals with errors and where you can find errata if you need any. It also tells us on the designer, John Bennett. It's very reminiscent of the old Dungeon Magazines where they'd describe the author as living in the jungle trees of suburbia, and compile them of skills and stats as if they were a d20 character themself. It was a nice trip down memory lane.
The first thing that really stands out to me about this pdf is the Table of Contents of the screen and print editions. Is it ever detailed. It tells you where exactly you should go, what stat blocks you can find, the new magic items, a brief description of the new spells, the alternate features, the feats, and the new monster. All this given to you on that one page.
This book comes in a pack of three. The package includes a print edition, a screen edition, and a stated pdf. The print and screen editions are exactly as they read. They're the books in question, just in different formats. The stated pdf is all of the NPCs and monsters in one small space so you can drop them in at any time for random encounters, or just because.
One thing I love about print editions is that they don't take up as much toner when I'm in need of having the stats out in front of me my tablet or laptop aren't working all the time. At first look they don't seem all that different, but once you start printing, you immediately recognize the error you've made.
I liked the fact that each NPC had a side bar that described them, and how you could put them into your game, or the type of encounter you'd find them in, and what kind of combat tactics they'd use. Groego stuck out the most to me though because of his personality, mannerisms, and especially his appearance. The guy has mad respect for his gear. It all shines and glows. Seriously, he should have a level or wizard or sorcerer so he can use Prestidigitation at-will. He's doing it the old fashioned way.
I used them for a pre-made evil adventure path that had the party dealing with a lot of bugbears, and a few of them are even going to be key NPCs for later. The PCs like a few of these guys, and are leery of others. Exactly how you want them to be when presenting evil NPCs.
Now, what do you get with the main pdf? Well, you get the location of the White Cliffs, where the bugbears are from, each of the four specific spots within the area, such as The Demon Pit and The Frozen Tears, and descriptions of each locale, and the lore behind the White Cliffs themselves. It's detailed, yet vague enough, that this location can be put into any campaign. The terrain features are wonderful to read, and the players are going to hate it as their character trek along the rockfalls, icy slopes, across the frozen rivers, and even have to go through blizzards.
Some of the things that the players can take from this are the new sorcerer bloodline, Yem's Bloodline (good for witch bugbear descendents), the Fear domain, a snow toad familiar, a few new feats, a couple of spells that are not only for the standard spellcasters, but also for the NPC adept. Who does that? Raging Swan Press, that's who. There's also a few new magic items to add to a character's arsenal. The creepiest of them all for me has to be the shrieking head. It's a disembodied head that's been placed on a pike, and screams if a password isn't given before walking by it. The art is probably what really creeps me out about it though. And while not really for the players, a new monster, the vhen nhar spawn, a frozen corpse undead creature that hungers for warmth. Needless to say, you'll be very surprised as to how these things are created. I won't spoil it. You'll have to buy this pdf in order to find out. I know I sure didn't see it coming.
Now, are there any cons to this? Yes, but it's a mild one, and it's something that I've come to notice with all of Raging Swam Press pdfs, aside from what I've listed above, and that is everything being black, white, or grey. It's hard to really immerse yourself into something when there's nothing to really grab your attention. The only colour in the whole pdf is that of the Pathfinder logo. While it's sort of this company's staple to be seen as it is, I'd like to see a little colour here or there to spice things up a bit. Make it a little more dynamic, and give it more of a sense of difference between the screen version and the print version. It's nothing big, just something that could possibly help emphasize things a little bit. A little more art every so often to help break up the bricks of text would be nice to see as well.
Overall, I liked receiving the three pdfs in the bundle. Even if you aren't running this specifically for its own side-trek, which you could very easily do, especially with Reign of Winter coming out, you could put this in any campaign that's going to have the PCs going North into the frozen wastelands.
I give this pdf a 4.5 out of 5. I recommend getting this product.
Book of Heroic Races: Half-Faerie Dragons (PFRPG) PDFJon Brazer Enterprises
Our Price: $4.99Add to Cart
Play a Faerie and a Dragon the Same Timekevin_video —
Ever wanted to play a fairy or a dragon? Well, Jon Brazer Enterprises has come up with a way you can play both. Sort of. Don't think about it too much, but they're actually a half-breed of each race. The book explains how it's possible, and that it's actually based off of the actual faerie dragon itself, and another humanoid, such as humans or elves.
I'll admit that I was originally incredibly skeptical of this book simply because I wasn't sure that this would be a viable race. And to be honest, while I still don't, it'd be a fun ride if I was given this at a convention, or playing a high fantasy campaign. That is of course if my GM allowed the race in their campaign. This is specified at the beginning in the disclaimer that GMs might not use everything, but I'd certainly hope they would. The pdf is apparently Hero Lab compatible with a free download available for those that get this pdf. This is a great benefit to GMs and players alike.
The one thing that immediately grabbed my attention when I was first skimming through it was that layout. It's got a great set of bookmarks and a very easy to follow Table of Contents. Lately, 3rd party products have been either skipping this altogether, or it's incredibly vague about what details you'll be seeing. It was nice to see that these guys took their time with this product to make everyone happy.
As you read through, you're invited to visit the world of the half-faerie dragon, and gain an insight as to how their personality might work. There's a brief short story that introduces you to a captured half-faerie dragon, and he goes on about how it was a big mistake, only to reveal later that it really was his own fault for what ended up happening, but to please rescue him. I found this rather cute, and actually compelled to want to see how this played out in an actual scenario with my own PC meeting this NPC half-dragon. That's a sign of a good writer.
The art, while infrequent, is wonderful to look at. Kudos to the artist and colorist. I actually found the line art in the pdf itself to be more of a visual grab than the cover itself. It's probably because there's more tendency to show off the different looks and styles a half-faerie dragon might have, and that not all of them look the same, just like standard half-dragons. This is complimented by the very extensive descriptions of how they look, standard ways of parentage, variances of appearance, etc. It also includes the typical hair clothing styles.
Now, let's get into the actual race itself. Is it that great? Well, to be honest, I wasn't a fan of the stat bonus and penalties. It's... interesting, but there's too many. You gain +2 to A, B, and C, but have -2 to X and Y. What, no Z too? I guess I can understand why they are what they are, but still. Having that many stat bonuses and penalties to remember makes it overly complicated. It's also very limiting for what classes you're going to take. Being small size, and having a penalty to both Constitution and Wisdom, you're not going to be the front line fighter, and you're not going to be the divine caster unless you're an oracle. And because of their incredibly random personality (i.e. they basically personify chaos), the chances of you being a paladin are going to be even less. This is essentially confirmed by the description of their society and personality. Now, does this mean you can't be one? Absolutely not, you'd just be the black sheep of the race for doing so. However, the write-up on religion makes one wonder how often one would be a divine class anyways. Which is ironic considering they have both cleric and paladin as favored classes for gaining bonuses.
One thing that stands out about the race though is their breath weapon. It's a gas that while titled "euphoric" actually causes you to be staggered, sickened, and feared. Given the name you'd think it'd be the equivalent to something like Hideous Laughter, but apparently not. While they have butterfly wings, they can't fly with them. At least not without a feat and 7 HD. They also have Prestidigitation as a spell-like to add to help aid them when pulling pranks. It's not hard to see why so many races don't really care for these guys.
This book is fairly extensive in what options it gives you. It's almost standard to have it added in nowadays, and these don't disappoint. They have their own bonus traits to choose from, alternate racial traits that you can swap out if you're not a fan of what's in the original write-up, favored class options, racial feats, clerical subdomains, new spells, base class archetypes, and prestige classes.
When you get this pdf, you're immediately introduced to the fact that these little guys love apples. Like, LOVE apples. If your GM allows flaws in their game, take Addicted: Apples. It's like showing a crackle something shiny and sparkly. It probably helps that the legend of their deity ate a golden apple and became a god. I'd probably be inclined to do the same thing. You never know. It also gives you full details on their society, religion, arts, courting rituals, what technology they might have access to, their hippy style love over war (never a bad thing), aging, their grand history, languages, deities, and economy, just to list a few things. There's even a way to implement them into your particular campaign, various locations that you can meet them, and even pre-written NPCs that you can introduce your party to. The guys at Jon Brazer Enterprises spared no detail in making sure you, the reader, are fully involved in their conception, and this race has been around for a very long time, and will not be going away any time soon. To everyone's delight, I'm sure.
Before I continue, I just want to say that I love, love, LOVE the Dappled Theurge prestige class. While it saddens me that it's so hard to gain access to, it's quite worth it. At least to me personally. It pays tribute to one of my all-time favorite arcane prestige classes from 3.5, the Ultimate Magus, from Complete Mage. This allows you to have both a prepared arcane caster and a spontaneous caster go up the same as the Mystic Theurge does for the arcane/divine casters.
The archetypes aren't half bad either. The sorcerer bloodline that you're given is one of the better ones that have been presented to us in both 3pp and official Paizo books. If you're anything other than the half-faerie dragon or a regular faerie dragon, you need this in order to gain access to the prestige class I mentioned above. Thankfully the bloodline itself is worth taking even if you're not taking it specifically for the Dappled Theurge.
The feats presented in the book compliment the race nicely, regardless of how you're building the character. There seems to be more options if you're playing the original race, and don't take alternate racial traits, but there's still something for every version of the race. It's nice to know that you're not penalized.
It's a little light on the equipment, but again there's still a little something for everyone. There's one particular weapon, the laughing blade, that I'm a little confused on. It's not explained why it's called that. Maybe because it counts as cold iron so you laugh at fey who think they're immune to it? Or maybe because it's a martial weapon to the half-faerie dragon, but an exotic weapon to everyone else? No idea. A little insight into this would have been nice. The magic items aren't half bad. I liked the descriptions of the artifacts that were presented. If the GM wanted, they could make entire campaigns around locating them, or protecting them from the outside world.
While there were a few snags here and there, overall, I was much more impressed by this product that I ever thought I'd be. This just goes to show that you can never truly judge a book by its cover. If you can use this in your campaign, whether current or future ones, I recommend getting this.